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How to Cater for 100 Guests Like a Pro

by Matt Beauchesne

Are you in the process of planning your own special event? Whether it’s a high-stakes occasion like a wedding and reception or an important event like a business conference or fundraiser, one of the most critical parts of any event is keeping your guests accommodated and satisfied — and that means offering event catering for every guest attending. If you’re hosting a party of significant size, you’re probably wondering what to order, how to set up your dining experience and how much food you will need to feed 100 people.

From appetizers and main courses to drinks and dessert, consider these five items to estimate the quantity of food you’ll need and ensure your party or event is a pronounced success.

1. Type of Event that Needs Catering

Before diving into your menu and determining the amount of food you’ll need for each course, consider what kind of event you’re hosting and the importance of planning your menu around the occasion. What is the main focus of the event?

Depending on the activities you’ll be offering or the theme of the event, dining expectations will vary. Wedding catering, for example, can look very different than corporate catering. For a fancier event like a wedding or banquet, you’ll want a full-course meal including appetizers, main entrees, desserts, and drinks — whereas, for a corporate occasion or simple party, you may only need to provide drinks and appetizers or drinks and dinner. Determine your plans for what courses you’ll offer and how fancy or casual you want your menu to be before beginning preparations.

2. Drinks

As the first — and often the last — thing your guests pick up and enjoy at your event, drinks are essential to its success — so you’ll want to make sure you don’t run out. How much alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages you need depends on your guests’ preferences, the duration of your party and what kind of drinks you supply.

In general, plan for two drinks per person for the first hour and one per additional hour. Keep in mind that guests will drink more at evening events than afternoon events. Try to follow these drink rules:

  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Allow for one to two drinks per person if you’re providing alcohol and three per person if you’re not.
  • Wine: Plan for one bottle per two guests. So, for a party of 100, you’ll need about 50 bottles.
  • Beer: Allow for two glasses per guest for the first hour and one per guest for each additional hour. This means you’ll need roughly 300 bottles for a party of 100.
  • Champagne: Plan for one to two glasses per person for pre-meal cocktails and three per person during dinner.
  • Ice: Plan for one pound per person.

how much food for 100 guests - micrographic

3. Appetizers

While the kind of appetizers you prepare will depend on the type of event you’re planning, your offerings should generally be satisfying and tempting, but light enough not to interfere with your guests’ dinner.

If you’re offering catered appetizers, plan for about six portions per guest. For a party of 100 guests, this adds up to roughly 600 appetizer portions. You can also offer light snacks like nuts, fruits and pretzels to give guests something to munch on when they first arrive — stock up on these items in bulk.

4. Main Dish

When it comes to the main course, you want to make sure your guests are well-fed, so preparing for the proper serving is especially important. The more components and options you have in each meal, the smaller your portion sizes should be — but in general, aim to follow these guidelines for your entrees:

  • Meat, Fish or Poultry: 6 oz. per serving per person
  • Vegetables: 4 oz. per serving
  • Beans: 2 oz. per serving
  • Potatoes: 5 oz. per serving
  • Grains: 2 oz. per serving for main dishes, 1.5 oz. for side dishes
  • Pasta: 4 oz. per serving for main dishes, 2-3 oz. for side dishes
  • Salad: 1 oz. per serving
  • Bread: 1-2 pieces per person per serving

5. Dessert

Upscale event catering calls for desserts, and your guests will always save a little extra room for a special occasion. Here’s how much dessert you should offer for each guest:

  • Ice Cream: 5 oz. per person
  • Cakes, Pastries, and Pie: 1 slice per person
  • Creamy Desserts and Puddings: 4 oz. per person

Save Your Stress With Wyndham Garden York Catering

When you use these guidelines for assistance, we’re sure you’ll do a great job catering your event yourself — but it can surely be a hassle. If you want to offer your guests the best event experience possible and make sure everything is covered without worrying about all the details yourself, The Wyndham Garden York offers the all-inclusive service your event needs. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate event, a prom or a party, we provide everything from a comfortable, clean, chic venue to full-service catering for your whole party.

Contact us today for more information about hosting your event at The Wyndham Garden York.

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