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qty for 5 hour cocktail party

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello:I could use some advice on this. I'm catering a holiday party for 100-150 people. The client states the party will start at 9:00pm and last until about 2:00am. The menu consists of:Provençal Herbs and Parmesan Cheese Cocktail Straws (at the bar)Passed Hors D'oeuvres:Fresh Apple Chutney & Brie Flower Bundles Crispy Pomegranate Phyllo CigarChicken or Beef Satay with Peanut SauceThai Beef and Basil Potato PuffCRAB CAKES SERVED WITH A CAJUN REMOULADEsalmon CroquettesStationary Buffet:Vegetable and cheese platterSeafood display of shrimp, lobster tails, crab claws, and marinated musselsMy question is how many pieces per hors d'oeuvres should I serve with those stationary buffets. I figured probably 2-3 pieces per person per hour for each hors d'oeuvres but I'm not sure is that will be enough. Also, how much of the seafood and vegetables/cheese should I plan on purchasing for the buffet because I know I will need to replenish throughout the night. PLEASE HELP!!!Thank you.
post #2 of 8
This will be the largest problem of the night for you. As well as the most costly part of the night.

First the straws, Four per each person for the night.


Passed offerings should be at 5 pieces per person for the night. Except for the salmon, you want 7 per person for that and make sure they get them early and often. Salmon is heavy and fills fast, so send it in first, then every other offering. Get their stomachs full with the salmon before you start offering other things. Pacing for this is important!

Now shrimp will be 6 per person for the night. Lobster should be 2 per person, but I would load for three. The crab claws will be four each for the night. The mussels will be 2 each for the night but load for three.

Cheese is important, I assume you know the mix, but lots of filler cubed cheese and heavily crackers. Again to fill them. And lets not forget a relish tray or presentation on the top of the cheese area.

If it was my event:

Straws out, followed by the passed salmon, mixing then the other offerings with the salmon, so salmon, something else, salmon, something else, salmon, etc. Salmon is an excellent filler and it tastes great.

I would have the veggie and cheese station loaded at the start. And would leave it for 45 minutes or 20 minutes after the house is at 70 percent attendance. Then I would grandly load the seafood station. By now you should have pumped them with salmon. Be aware that the shrimp will go as fast as you can put them out. So pace the shrimp to ensure shellfish get taken. Same with lobster pace the stuff. Crab claws are usually self pacing without any methodology to the offering.

Sauces should be offered with a half ounce ladle.

Lemon slices by the hundreds will be in order.

Good luck with it, hope the budget is right for your sake!
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
thank you so much for your advise!!!
post #4 of 8
So, shakferr,
I assume you have served the party and survived. Let's have the report; how many guaranteed, how many showed, how much did you prepare, and how much actually used?
Bbally's reckoning seemed sound, but I think the piece numbers a little high on some of the items (except shrimp). One thing's for sure though. A little wasted food cost and leftovers is cheap insurance against running out.
Anxious to hear the results, at any rate.

Mike
post #5 of 8
Yes, let's hear the details about how your quantities worked out. I had a situation last Sat. evening that always drives me nuts. The client that booked the party had a very tight budget, as it was a fundraiser for 250, and didn't order enough food. As we all know, the caterer looks at fault in this situation. As we were running out of food, the client asked that someone run back to our nearby Kroger and purchase more food! It was a nightmare, but we sent someone back for a few more requested items. Of course, by the time he returned, the party was almost over and the food practically went untouched. I always try to advise the client of necessary amounts, but they do have the final decision. Still, it makes the caterer look bad. I had one woman come into the kitchen to ask for more food, and all I could say was, "the amount of food ordered has been put out, Ma'am". It is embarrassing. I have declined booking parties before when I see the client is trying to be too "cheap", but usually my solution is just bring extra food, but in this case did not. Any others that run into this situation? Thanks!
"Live for today, for manana may never come!"
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"Live for today, for manana may never come!"
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post #6 of 8
Run into that situation?  Man, it's becoming the rule of the day, folks are getting so tight?  And you are certainly right- the caterer always ends up getting blamed.

One has to develop intuition to spot some of these cheapskates.
post #7 of 8
 one way to deal with this is to write into your contract that you will be prepared to serve xx % over what is ordered with SIGNED approval from the client on the night (have a form made up ready to whip out) and then if you don't use it, it belongs to you, but if you do put it out with approval they have to pay additional.  Obviously depends on the item, but you could have some backup that can be frozen or used for another event (assuming proper handling/temperature etc)   Eg extra pan of mac and cheese can be made into mac n cheese lollipos (think risotto balls) and frozen.  Next time you have an event - suggest that item.
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #8 of 8
 PS budgets are getting tighter and tighter in this economic climate.  We have to give them food that is filling but not too expensive to buy and produce on a limited budget.

I am in NYC and have been getting requests for weddings for $30 per guest including food, rentals and labor - the rentals and labor eat up about 20 -25 of the 30....  good luck to them..
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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