How to calculate catering costs

Written by cassandra scheidies
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How to calculate catering costs
Catering ensures that your event's food will be tasty and plentiful. (dish 5 image by Igor Kovalenko from

Catering your party, wedding, event, or business meeting takes a big item off of your to-do list and ensures that the food will be tasty and plentiful. Your caterer will be in charge of appetizers, entrées, and desserts. Many caterers also provide lunch box food for events. Calculating catering costs can be figured with simple math. You can save money at your event by knowing how much a caterer is going to charge before hiring them.

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  1. 1

    Determine the number of guests you are expecting. Use the highest estimate of guests that might attend so there is sure to be enough food.

    How to calculate catering costs
    Get a headcount of expected guests before contacting caterers for price quotes. (people at the party image by NiDerLander from
  2. 2

    Contact several caterers to get estimates. The caterers will tell you how much they charge per plate. Their prices may vary depending on how many people they are cooking for, how many courses you want served, and the types of dishes, if you have a preference. Make sure the estimate they provide includes all the food and beverages served. If the caterer is providing a cake--wedding or otherwise--there may be an added cost.

  3. 3

    Multiply the two figures. For instance, if the caterer will charge £6 a plate and you are expecting 600 guests, then you would multiply 10 by 600 for the cost of catering. In this example, you should expect to pay £3,900 for catering.

    How to calculate catering costs
    Multiply the number of guests by the cost per plate. (calculator image by L. Shat from

Tips and warnings

  • Get estimates from at least three caterers.

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