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Ordering right amount of food for 60 people -- buffet

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 



I am not sure if I am in the right forum, please forgive me (or move it to the proper spot?) if I mis-posted!


I am organizing the food for a June late afternoon dinner buffet for 60 people.  I am getting food from several different caterers & family volunteers.  I just have no idea of how much to order.    The caterers price by the person or by the pound or by the piece depending on the item but I have 3 meats, 3 salads 3 sides and 2 vegetables . I just don't know how to sort it out.


Can anyone give me a ballpark for amounts?



Thank you kindly for your input!

Edited by idamay - 3/30/12 at 1:42am
post #2 of 12

that's a whole lot of heavy food.....

idamay, are you set on having this menu?

One of the things people pay caterers for is their experience......

cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello shroomgirl!  Thanks for the reply.  No, the menu is not fixed (btw it's not that heavy, none of the salads are creamy smile.gif). 


My real dilemna is quantities. 


Maybe I'll simplify the question:


If I get 3 meats, 3 salads 3 sides and 2 vegetables (we want lots of choice) how much do I need get of each to feed 60 guests? 


If anyone could give me guidance about quantities I'd be very grateful.


post #4 of 12

Well, speaking from the catering standpoint, I would be asking you the client, for some clarification on the event in order to fine

tune as much as possible, the quantities of each, to keep shortages and overages to minimum, and prices on target.

Like who's doing the eating? 60 hungry adults who havent eaten all day? 10% children? etc.

Knowing what the food is helps this estimate as well, especially the main meat courses.

Generally, the "several choices" helps, as you can figure smaller individual  servings--to a point--again, depending on the

courses. But it sounds like shortages wont be an issue....


"I am getting food from several different caterers & family volunteers. "


This is what's throwing me, sounds like a hybrid pot luck affair, for lack of better term, and in pot lucks those attending

usually expect, and want, lots of left over vittles to wrap up and take home, which puts the servings back near 1 full serving

of each main course etc, per person. The more of this info you impart, the more accurate an answer you can get. :-)

post #5 of 12

unless you are in the south, that is a HUGE menu.

As a caterer a typical buffet meal reads like this:


one meat: if red then potentially fish or chix also....





Green Salad with lots of veg......vinaigrette with sometimes an optional dairy based dressing


Vegetable Platter.....depends on the season, but simple blanch then saute or roasted.....


*if it's the season then sliced tomatoes or corn salad or watermelon salad.....if there are significant vegetarian/plant based diet/vegans then there would be a bean dish/salad.


Your 3 meats, 3 sides, 3 salads, 2 vegetables......not sure what your sides would be since you covered vegetables in salad and cooked HEAVY in variety.


cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 12

Sounds like you have lots of money to spend, if so go for it., if not cut back on the variety


We do 2 entrees, one starch, one veg, green salad, pasta salad, vegetable salad, dessert, sometimes we do 3 entrees on request, but charge quite a bit extra, and your going to have some left over

For example

Beef (boneless) 5 oz. per person

Chicken (boneless) 4 oz per person  (bone in, small pieces) 6 oz per person

Fish 3 oz. per person

Tossed salad 2 oz. per person

Pasta salad 3oz per person

Vegetable salad 3 oz per person

Dessert if it is all the same kind  one per person, add a different kind and a lot of people will take two

Some kind of bread, I only have to done one per person

If you have some vegetarians your third entree could be a extra vegetable course

These are general portions and do depend on the group you are feeding and what time of day ect. ect.

This is always a guess, but this works for me, good luck, hope this helps, and always have a back up plan!


post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you CurtisPNW! I really didn't want to debate the menu as there are more people involved in the decision making than just me.... These are great guidelines and exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much!

post #8 of 12

Your welcome

Somehow I spaced out the friut tray at about 3 oz per person, also if your buy meat already cooked, portion sizes may be a bit smaller, I am using raw product wieght to determine how much to buy

post #9 of 12

yep - other reples good

I dont know what your budget is but my 'staple' for this amount of people would be fillet of beef (X2) , 2 sides salmon, 30/40 slices of ham  ( cut in half ) and lots of fresh french sticks or similar

I would provide warm new potaotes (4 or 5 each max) . Green salad ( do not overdo it - people usually take a tablespoon each )

Home made coleslaw (50/50 mayo and creme fraiche)  some sort of beany salad (frozen cooked soya beans with crispy bacon  lardons, chopped celery and red wine vinegar dresing - good )  A roasted veg and coucous salad or pasta salad and maybe a tomato salad thing, or a load of cheery tomatoes on the vine in a bowl or to garnish beef. A nice thing to go with beef is - horseradish mixed with grainy mustard and nayo and crene fraiche - make up quabtities !

The best advice I can give is - do not overcook beef or salmon

Get loads of fresh herbs - chop and extensively garnish


Keep puddings simple - fresh strawbeeries and cream, mini brownies. 


Cheese board - it actually costs more that a filet of beef but any cheese left over can be frozen for reuse! Garnish with grapes, celery etc


Accept help from your friends - people love to feel needed - get them to do salads, make their speciality pudding etc


You may end up doing nothing apart from cooking the beef and salmon.


Ask friends to lend fabulous big platters etc


Get almost everyting done the day before - tables/chairs/cutlery/napkins - set it all out - beg, steal.borrow from friends


Nice bath/shower for you before event - look gorgeous and in control !!


Enjoy !!

post #10 of 12

Your caterer should be advising YOU !!  Thats what you are paying them for

Where are you ? - could do this with my eyes closed  and take the stress out for you.

I see family are also helping out which is great - push them a bit harder and rope in a good friend to prep with you - it is all ib the organisation!

Catering for 50 is NOT six times more dificult than cooking for ten!!

I have left other post regarding menu/quantities

post #11 of 12

doll, this event was for last june...  smile.gif

post #12 of 12

Well mostly u want 6oz of protein per guest. 4oz-6oz of starch per guest. veg 4oz is good then add 10% buffer and you will be good az gravy. 1 desert 2 flavors usually works.  But a lot more to consider like how much food cost is there and what the budget for the event is. So the numbers can be moved up or down depending on budget. I can help more if needed.

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