How to Estimate How Much Food for Catering

Written by marlene inglis
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How to Estimate How Much Food for Catering
Buffets can be a little more difficult to estimate for catering. (buffet image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

Gather information for your catering event for before you plan how much food to prepare. Find out how many people will be eating, the time of day -- since people eat more at dinner than at lunch -- and the season because people eat less on very hot summery days. You need to know if you are catering a formal dinner where five or more courses are being served or a self-serve buffet. Since a stomach holds about 1134gr, caterers can use this as a guideline to estimate the amount of food to prepare.

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  1. 1

    Cater a seven course formal sit-down meal, starting with a first course appetizer. Allow five 28.4gr appetizers per person.

  2. 2

    Serve each person the second course of a 113gr salad with 28.4gr of dressing followed, by the third course of a 170gr portion of soup. Follow the soup with the fourth course, which can consist of a 85.1gr pasta dish.

  3. 3

    Serve either a 340gr fillet mignon or break your protein down into two smaller entrées, such as 170gr each of boneless chicken breast and steak, for your fifth course. Include 85.1gr of vegetables with your main course.

  4. 4

    Wrap up your meal with a scrumptious 170gr dessert. In the desert calculation add the butter and baked goods, such as the bread served with your main course.

  5. 5

    Serve coffee or tea to end your seven-course dinner. Allow one cup or coffee or tea per person. Working out the portions by courses can give you a good idea how much food is required for each person. Multiply the quantity of food required by the amount of guests expected.

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