Tip #1: Know How Many Guests Will Attend
The first thing you’ll want to know is an accurate count of all the guests expected to attend. Always round the numbers up: if you have a guest count of 134 then consider it to be 150 or even 200. This is because you’ll never how much a guest will eat; some would eat little while others come back for seconds.
This is also going to be the first question that the food caterer will ask you. They want to know ahead of schedule just how much food they need to prepare and for the most part they always follow the mantra that half of the guests would eat a dish twice.
If you’ve rounded up your guests to around 100 then you’ll know you need food good enough for 100 people per serving/meal. The next part is to determine how long they’ll be there so you can determine how many meals you’ll need to prepare.
Tip #2: Know How Long the Event Will Last
This is the second crucial tip to follow. If you are preparing an evening cocktail party then a single serving of a full meal will do enough: one or two appetizers per guest, one or two main dishes, and an assortment of desserts.
However, if the event is for an entire afternoon or if it will be a full-day event like a wedding then you’ll need to prepare much more. The peculiar thing is that people get more and more hungry the longer they stick around one place for one event. A whole day event is going to need three major meals interceded with snacks in between.
Whole day events that last more than four hours will need more than one main dish served. If each guest is given two servings each and each meal has three different courses then you can instantly calculate how much food you’ll need.
Tip #3: Food Tips
When it comes to beverages you need to estimate a minimum of three servings per person. Coffee drinkers are the most likely to take more and have been clocked to take another cup every one hour and a half.
You might want to stave off soft drinks until you get to the main meals. Never serve soft drinks early because they can make guests crave for more – the average person takes two to three bottles instead of one. So to keep safe serve them after the main dish has been offered and you can keep it to just one or two bottles per person.
Lunch and dinner are tricky. You’ll want one main dish and then two or three side dishes for variety. This especially becomes important for quick events where one major meal is all you’ll need to plan for. When you’ve got to cater for a longer period of time then it becomes a matter of serving one main dish every two or so hours.
Desserts on the Table!
Always plan to cater one to three different varieties of dessert per person. While it is not always recommended, you’ll want to keep desserts out in the open so plan to prepare more than usual. If you’ve got a guest count of 100 then plan for desserts good enough for 200.