One of the most difficult and complicated aspects of party planning is creating the menu and figuring out how much food to buy. Not only do you need to estimate how many people will be at the party, but how much food each of them will eat. Then, you have to take other factors into consideration, such as the time of day, the weather, and whether alcohol will be served.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple formula that will tell you how much food to buy for your next party. But using these helpful tips from The Spruce, you’ll have a better idea.
Party Food Planning Tips
- Always round up. It’s better to have too much food than to run out.
- If you’re planning a buffet, assume guests will taste everything.
- The more food options you offer, the smaller amounts you’ll need of each.
- Try to anticipate which food items will be the most popular and buy more of those.
- Break down your guest list by age and gender and use that breakdown to plan amounts (i.e. children will eat less than adults).
- If you’re serving heavy or rich foods, you’ll probably need less. If you serve lighter foods, guests will come back for more.
As for how much of each food to plan for per guest, follow these general guidelines:
Portion Size Per Person
- 6 bites when preceding a meal.
- 4 – 6 bites per hour when hors-d’oeuvres are the meal.
The Main Meal
- Poultry, meat or fish – 6 ounces when you have one main dish, 8 ounces when you offer two or more main courses.
- Rice, grains – 1.5 ounces as a side dish, 2 ounces in a main dish such as risotto.
- Potatoes – 5 ounces
- Vegetables – 4 ounces
- Beans – 2 ounces as a side dish
- Pasta – 2 ounces for a side dish, 3 ounces for a first course, 4 ounces for a main dish
- Green Salad – 1-ounce undressed weight
- 1 slice cake, tart or pastry
- 4 ounces creamy desserts such as pudding or mousse
- 5 ounces ice cream
- When serving two of the above, reduce each by a little less than half.
After helping plan hundreds of parties over our many decades in business, we’ve learned a few things about food.
First, stick to your budget! This is especially important when you’re planning an open house and the guest list is uncertain. Second, if you’re worried about running out but you don’t want a lot of leftovers, have a non-perishable option on hand that you can serve on the fly. Third, if you do run out, remind yourself that there are no guarantees with an open house. If a guest arrives after the food is gone, they’ll think, “The food must have been good – I should have been here earlier!”
Finally, consider crowd control. The more menu choices you offer, the longer it’ll take for guests to go through the line. If space is an issue, offer fewer choices and smaller plates!
Broadway Party Makes Food Service Easy
No matter what and how much you serve, we have the food service rentals you need! And our simple rental policies will make party prep a snap.
Broadway Party & Tent Rental is your partner in party planning! We have everything you need for an easy, safe and fun party. Visit our Twin Cities graduation party rental catalog, and call us at 763-208-1357 to get started!
From tents and tables to silverware and serving dishes, dance floors and décor to lighting and linens, Broadway Party & Tent Rental has the Minneapolis party rentals for your next event. Visit our online catalog and contact us to learn more.