How To Calculate Food Portions For Catering

How To Calculate Food Portions For Catering

Ask any event organiser and they will tell you their biggest challenge is how to calculate food portions for catering. If catering is not planned, you face the risk of serving too little or waste much of the food. In this guide, we provide tips to help you when calculating catering portions for a big crowd.

Get the Number

Knowing the number of attendees to an event is the most important aspect of the planning process. This gives you an opportunity to calculate portions in bulk and avoid wastage. If you are contracted to offer catering services, request this figure two to three days before the event to allow time for planning.

Decide the Menu

Catering menus and portions are determined by the type of event you are planning for. For instance, you are more likely to make dietary considerations when planning for a corporate event than for a come-together party.

Factor in the Time

Inquire from the host when the function will be taking place as this determines the amount of food served. For instance, there may be only one serving in an after-dinner party but two in an all-afternoon setting.

Work within the Budget

Make sure you discuss details of the budget during planning to avoid under-delivery or overshooting. Some hosts will want to minimise expenditure while to others money is not a problem. Discuss the expected menu and point out items that may be costly.

Serving per Person

Calculation for the actual amounts should come last after all other aspects have been factored. A good estimate is to use 1.5 pounds as the amount of food to be served to one person. Subdivide this by the number of servings, taking into consideration the main dishes and side dishes.

General Guidelines

No single formula can explain how to calculate food portions for catering but there are general rules of thumb to guide you.

• Ensure there are more of the main dishes than the side dishes.
• Multiply the number of attendees by three to get the amount of appetisers required.
• Always round up estimates and never round down
• Take care of special requests
• People tend to eat more at buffets than when servers are available
• Avoid open bars as they tend to increase the expenditure.
• Always leave an allowance to cater for last minute attendees.

These guidelines should help you understand how to calculate food portions for catering. Feel free to contact Impressions Catering if you face any difficulties. They provide catering for weddings, corporate events, in-home parties and many other types of events in Perth.

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