It is easy to estimate how much food can be consumed by some 2-4 people, but what is these 4 people become 20, 30, 40, 50 or more? If you are on a catering business, this is perhaps among the things you should be more adept to calculate. If there is a surplus and the client has agreed to pay for it, the better. However, it would be a sure dilemma if the foods have run out way before the end of the event.
You need to determine from your client the number of people expected to attend the occasion, the time duration of the party, what foods are preferred to be served by the client and when each dish shall be served. To be on a safe ground in determining how much food to prepare, it is better to add a little extra servings in foods and drinks.
For the drinks and beverages, assume that each person will drink three servings. Coffee for instance is demanded during mornings, late afternoons and after meals. Water is essential and is greatly demanded especially on hot and summer days. Keep in mind to prepare creamer and sugar substitutes.
If you are hired to cater for a breakfast meal, here is a useful guideline. Each guest may be able to eat about 5 oz. of the main entree and 4 oz. each of the two to three side dishes. Bread and desert may be served in breakfast catering. For pastries, two pieces of bread per person may be enough. For fruit salads, each guest may consume half to one cup. If fresh fruit is to be served expect each person to consume about three to five pieces.
The proportioning of the appetizer is based on the event catered. There are evening functions which have no dinner, for this about ten to fifteen appetizer pieces per individual should be prepared. When foods are served buffet style, people tend to consume more amounts compared to when foods are served on trays. If the evening function includes serving of dinner, three to five pieces of appetizer will do.
For lunch catering, allocate 5 oz. of the main entree per person along with 4 oz. each of the two to three side dishes. If bread is required by the client, allot one to two pieces per person. If there is going to be sandwiches served buffet style, assume a person to be able to consume one to two sandwiches with 4 oz. or 0.11 kg of meat and 2 oz. of cheese each.
For a dinner catering, 5-7 oz. of the main entree should be prepared for each person, 4 oz. each of the two to three side dishes. If there is a vegetable dish, allot 4 oz. per guest. For pasta and bean dishes, 2 oz. per person will do. For salad without dressing, a portion of 1 oz. may suffice.
For a pastry dessert like tart and cake, assume that each guest will be able to eat a single slice. If desserts of creamy variants like mousse and pudding are to be served, 4 oz. each guest may be allotted. For ice creams, apportion 5 oz. per guest.