How much food should you plan per person?

Planning Party Platters

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Planning Party Platters: How Much?

Where can I find the information on how much food per person should be allowed when planning how much will be needed on a party platter? For example, How many ounces or pounds of meat per child or adult should be allowed when making a meat tray? We are thinking of making a meat and cheese tray, a fresh vegetable tray, and a fresh fruit tray but have no idea how much we should allow per person. Any websites would be helpful.
Thank you,

Tips to Keep Your Party Costs Low

My husband is a catering director and while there are factors like budget, time of day, etc. the guidelines are around 10 to 15 bites per person.

If you are trying to save money, have your party mid-day after lunch and before dinner. That way you can plan for fewer bites per person. If you have a party around dinnertime (approximately 7 p.m.) then plan on more bites.

Also, if you are doing actual bites, like little bite sized brownies and such, plan on more for dessert. People have a tendency to keep nibbling on them. If you're thinking budget wise, have a cake or something where you aren't just nibbling. People will think twice before going for a third piece of cake, but they don't think about the 20 brownie bites they nibble on as they pass the food table.

Also, I've always seen better success with more food, as opposed to less, but more expensive food. Most people are happy with finger sandwiches and don't care so much that you spent $500 on caviar.

A Few Guidelines for Party Platter Planning

As a personal chef and caterer, I think I can help. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Beverages - 8 ounces per person or 3 pound can of coffee equals 300 servings
  • 4 portions of 4 ounces each from the 4 food groups equals 1 pound per 4 persons
  • 4 ounces meat (ham, turkey, roast beef, meatballs, chicken or fish). With a sit-down meal, figure 6-8 ounces per person of an entree.
  • 4 ounces of potato salad or regular salad (potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, scalloped or Au Gratin Potatoes)
  • 4 ounces of another vegetable (carrots or green beans)
  • 4 ounces of dessert
  • Therefore, 20 people will need 5 pounds from each food group. 40 people will need 10 pounds from each food group, etc.
  • This is based on the average eater.

    Planning Party Platters: Check Out Book Resource

    Most people have challenges in trying to plan for parties and rather large gatherings of people. Years ago I purchased a book that has proved invaluable to me for such occasions. There are several books available of this type nowadays (but pricey), but my old Food For 50 by West, Shugart & Wilson is fantastic (it was published in the 70's).

    It contains quantity recipes as well as how much to purchase for 50 servings which you can double or halve for however many people you will be serving. This and other books of this type should be available at a myriad of used book stores, possibly on eBay, or even regular booksellers have out of print books you can search for online. I know is a site for used books & am sure there are many others.

    Planning Party Platters: Ideas From Experience

    I'm busy right now planning my parents' 50th wedding anniversary so this question is right down my line. Because I'm a pastor's wife I've also had a lot of experience with planning for groups.

    Somewhere along the years I picked up a party planner book and this is what they say on planning party platters:

    1. Plan on 2 to 3 ounces of meat per person. (25 servings of cold cuts would be 3 to 5 pounds)
    2. Plan 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of cheese slices per serving. (This would be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds for 25 servings)
    3. Plan 1/2 cup of chicken, tuna, and potato salad per person. (1 gallon for 25 people)
    4. Allow 4 to 6 pieces of vegetables on a relish tray per person. (2 pounds of broccoli or cauliflower makes about 32 florets, 1 pound of carrots makes about 65 (3 X 1/2 inch) sticks, 1 3/4 pounds of celery makes about 100 (4 X 1/2 inch) sticks, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes equals 25 servings, 1 1/2 pounds of cucumber equals 50 servings (1/4 inch slices)
    5. Allow 1/2 cup per serving with fruit. (18 1/2 pounds of watermelon equals 16 cups, 4 pounds of pineapple equals 5 cups, 3 pounds of cantaloupe makes 4 cups, 1 pint of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries equals 2 cups, 1 pound of green grapes equals 2 cups, 1 pound of Tokay grapes makes 3 cups, and 3 ounces of kiwifruit is equal to 1/2 cup)
    6. When considering children, I've found that some people take more, some take less so it pretty well balances out. The exception seems to be the salads like chicken, tuna, potato salad, etc. Kids just seem to avoid that and you could figure only one serving for every 3 to 4 kids. I hope this helps. It sure has helped me over the years.


    Reviewed January 2018

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