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Old 06-22-2011, 10:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
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Calculating the QTY of food needed

Hey all!

We are having a party and serving a variety of foods of smaller sized portions so that everyone can try a little of everything.

Here is what we are serving:
  • Hamburger Sliders
  • Pulled Pork Sliders
  • 8" Chicken Kabobs
  • Nacho bar
  • Mini Tacos
  • Mini Chicken Carnitas
  • Pasta Bar served in Martini glasses
  • 5 Fresh Veggies and Dip
  • 2 Edible Fruit Arrangements
  • Salad
(Plus desserts - s'mores, cake, popcorn and cookies)

My question is how much of each thing to make per person?
My original idea was 2 of each of the main things like tacos and sliders per person and single servings of salad, veggies and pasta. Does that sound like it would be correct? I want to make sure we have enough.

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Old 06-22-2011, 11:05 AM   #2
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You have quite an extensive menu there! Seems like there is something for everyone for sure.

Not everyone is going to eat all of the meats, yet others are going to eat more of one so an average of two of each per is okay, specially if it is a dinner hour party. If it is more of a lunch I would go down to 1.5 of each per person. Either way, you are bound to have leftovers, but that is better than being short.

Salads average 1/2 cup (pasta, potato, etc) per person with about 10% of total extra, while greens are 3/4 - 1 cup per. Now I have roughly converted these from metric and I usually go by weight but this is a good standard I think for you. Always allow that 10% extra on "bulk" items for the people who won't want any or as much meat.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LPBeier View Post
Hope that helps a little.
Thank you so much!! This is a HUGE help!

Oh! I probably should have added that everything will be plated (not buffet style) so the meat for each thing is a set amount.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adias.angel View Post
Thank you so much!! This is a HUGE help!

Oh! I probably should have added that everything will be plated (not buffet style) so the meat for each thing is a set amount.
I am a little confused at having this type of food plated. Are guests able to state what they want?
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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How many guests are invited? (Men, women, children?). If my DH were invited, he'd be back for 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths. Especially of the veggies. He eats about 4x the amount of food you'd expect for a person his size (he's short and thin). But man, does he eat. His metabolism probably rivals that of a hummingbird.

If you are having lots of seniors, they will eat less food. If you plate the food, then you can expect lots of waste if people don't like something (what's not to like, everything sounds wonderful, but you are preaching to the choir here, we all like to eat!) or if the amount is more than the person can eat.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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Good points, CW.

We had a family lunch last Sunday at my in-laws and my only food participation was the cake....until my nephew asked someone to get me to help him with the BBQ. We had twenty-five people including 2 picky eater children, a bottomless pit 12 year old, 4 seniors and the rest of average age and appetite. When I got out side to see the problem, my nephew (a butcher and firehouse cook) showed me boxes and boxes of sliders, mini sausages, etc. We are talking about 6 - 7 dozen pieces!

It's easy to think that because they are small, people will eat more. But with the buns, sides, etc. you can fill up fast. There were a ton of leftovers on the meat but the salads, veggies, etc. went fast. The fastest moving item that day? 48 deviled egg halves - go figure!
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:46 AM   #7
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There are some very good outdoor entertaining points here.

We had some friends and family over on May Day (May 1), and I really felt like age/sex had a lot to do with how much to plan for each person. Teenaged boys will eat as much as probably 3 grown women, who often are watching their diets closely, and almost always more than even grown men. Kids may eat one thing but not another depending on how picky they are. Some seniors eat less, but if it's my mom, you want to plan for more. ;)

So, I guess what I'm adding is that if you know the people who will be there, you can judge more accurately, but if it will be, for example, a company BBQ, you can use formulas, but estimate high and plan to have leftovers. When we had 20 people last month, I didn't use a formula because I knew who preferred chicken over beef over ribs (baby back) and who would eat the green salad, but not the pasta salad. Make sense? We had some leftovers, but no waste, which was nice.

The menu you gave is classic for buffet style. I agree that you're probably going to waste so, so much food if you plate it. If you haven't had the party yet, I hope you reconsider that. For example, the meats you have... I would probably eat just one item of one meat (and certainly not two different types of chicken) unless it is served quite literally as an hors d'oeuvre portion. And I would not appreciate the host putting all of that on my plate because it would pressure me, as the guest to perhaps eat far more than I'm comfortable eating.
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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All very good advice. I plan a party of 50 about once a month and we do it potluck style. I bring the main dishes and others bring the sides. Sometimes it is easy to plan other times I don't know what the heck I was thinking. :)
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