Catering Order Sizing Guide

When it comes to Catering, the most common question is: How much do I need to order? We setup this page as a guide to help you answer that question. 

Generally, an adult will eat about 1lb of food per seating. So if you are serving 4 portions of food, you need about 1/4 lb per person.  If you are offering 3 portions of food, you need about 1/3 lb per person of each item.

Ordering Guide Estimator for a 3-Course Meal
Example Meal: 1 Meat & 2 Sides
Number of people to be servedPounds of each food group
6 People2 lb.
12 People4 lb.
20 People6.6 lb.
25 People8.3 lb.
30 People10 lb.
50 People16.6 lb.
80 People26.6 lb.
100 People33.3 lb.
150 People50 lb.
200 People66.6 lb.
300 People100 lb.


Ordering Guide Estimator for a 4-Course Meal
Example Meal: 2 Meats & 2 Sides
Number of people to be servedPounds of each food group
6 People1.5 lb.
12 People3 lb.
20 People5 lb.
25 People6.25 lb.
30 People7.5 lb.
50 People12.5 lb.
80 People20 lb.
100 People25 lb.
150 People37.5 lb.
200 People50 lb.
300 People75 lb.

There are a few things to answer about your particular group in order to make this guide more accurate. This is definitely an art more than an exact science. 

1. Is your group going to eat a lot? Are they high school football players who are going to eat a lot? Or are they children who aren't going to eat much? If they are big eaters, order a little more.

2. Will the food be served at Lunch or Dinner? People generally eat more at dinner than at lunch. 

3. Is food an important part of the event? Are people coming there to eat? Or on the contrary, is the food just a small addition? If food is a small part of the event, order a little less. 

4. How important is it that you don't run out of food? Would you rather over order and guarantee that you don't run out? Or is it okay if you run out? If it's critical you don't run out of food, order a little more. 

5. Are you platting the meals so you can guarantee everyone gets equal amounts of each food? Or is it buffet style where they can take as much of their favorites as they want?  The popularity of the food matters if it is buffet style.  For instance, Mac & Cheese is more popular than most other sides.  If you are serving buffet style, people will choose more of their favorites. Make sure to order a little more of the favorites!