I am getting ready to cater an anniversary party for 120. My budget is small and they are ordering 3 types of pasta. Is 10lbs of each pasta enough? 30lbs total in addition to chicken, string beans, meatballs bread and salad. (150 chicken cutlets, 10lbs beans, 200 meatballs)
Food for 120
Well 120 ppl isn't really all that big as events go, and you and one helper can certainly handle it on a chaffer serve.
Now, if you two are gonna stand there serving a buffet line, loading their plates, and ask them their choice of pasta,
you should be okay, just keep an eye on portion control....and you'll always have one pasta go faster than the others
for some reason. But you can stretch the food a long ways when youre in control. This isn't to say they can't have more
than one pasta.....you just give them a bit less of each, to make a full serving on the plate. And BTWay in my experience
the best and fastest way to serve pasta is with TONGS--pick up, drain a second....PLOP....well unless it's penne, etc.
So my suggestion is to offer the bread and salad on a self serve buffet BEFORE they get to the mains youre serving. (meats & pasta)
(you can self-serve the side (beans) too, but you'd need more than 10 lbs IMO. )
This way when they arrive at you guys their plates are half full, then you can portion out the pasta and the meats.
They have full plates, you have control and everyone's happy.
You should be fine then so long as youre watching portions. And you can adjust halfway
thru if you need to --thats the advantage of a hosted chaffer service.
I'm also thinking of only leaving the buffet open 1-1.5 hrs. What do you think???
The amount of time you serve is usually something discussed between you and the
client beforehand, and I usually had it on the actual contract. Aside from that, it depends
on how the event is set up--with 70% of those I did, say the serving time was 6:30,
the buffet is announced "open" , they all form a line, (aka a MOB) and you serve til done.
I'd serve 120 people in about 15 to 20 mins, including stragglers.
However, I would still always "stay open" for a minimum of an hour, regardless of # of people.
But...sometimes you have a staggered serve, e.g., the staff comes through last after their work is done etc.,
Or...the guests don't all arrive at the same time, and you have to serve them piecemeal--this can take
3 or 4 hours. All depends on your event my friend. Again, its something you discuss first, usually.
IMO THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN THE LAST 10 or 12 GUESTS LOOKING AT AN ALMOST EMPTY PAN OF ANYTHING. ..except maybe center of the plate item. I personally hate it when I over hear a guest saying "looks like your running out of food" especially when you know there is plenty in the hot box. Something like pasta....come on...its cheap!! Let your guests see that you have plenty and you cook plenty and still let them help themselves so what!! let them fill up on that its CHEAP and you or your helper serve the Meatballs and Chicken. Love the suggested idea about salad and bread station.
I don't care if I have only have 5 more people to go through the line...those 5 people also came to eat and I want them to have the same great meal and portion size as the first 5!!!...TRY as you might but please keep those chaffers at least looking full, clean and pretty!!!
120 people is not a big job but its still 120 potential "new customers"
As far as time goes Meezenplaz made good and valid points and the same theory w/plate sizing as I do... but time line for your buffet is usually discussed w/client prior to your event and certain items will hold on a buffet extended time better than others. But sometimes YOU need to let them know that ...they just dont understand.Sauced pasta will hold longer and you will be fine w/chicken and meatballs. We just did 375 Spaghetti/Meatball/Chicken/Salad/Garlic bread...el cheap o!! $7.00 PP, w/3 staff, buffet style...less than 30 min.
1 chef out side with ONLY/2 huge pots and burners (1 pot for sauced meatballs in boil bags...1 bag enough to 3/4 fill 4" pan ) and another pot to reheat already cooked pasta...he had 2 Colman coolers ( used to drop in and store heated bags of meatballs and lemon garlic julienne chicken ), a knife to cut bags, and a stack of 4 "hotel pans" He acted as runner and kept an eye on the buffet TOO!! We did not sauce pasta (2 types only ) but had a small sauce station about 20 feet past the actual buffet and offered 3..marinara, alfredo and I think putanesca.. help your selves sauces...having it away from the buffet helped keep the line moving and worked beautifully....we used a round table for sauce station and it could be accessed from all sides and put the garlic bread right in the middle on a riser. The actual buffet was 2 8 ft. tables Split w/guest going down both sides starting w/Salad then pasta and a server between the 2 split tables serving chicken then guests went down and the next table and that table had only another type of pasta and cutlery/napkins on the end was a served doing meatballs. We could have done it w/2 6 feet tables but with the décor it was better with bigger tables.
When this job was finished the guests were thrilled to death (church group that had always done it themselves in the past and from my understanding was always a horror show LOL ) we were driving away about an hour after the last person went thru the line (we gave them time to come back for available seconds ) it was a real easy job and they went w/disposable plates and cutlery so not much clean up or rounding up rentals. We made as almost as much money as some of these high dollar, high headache and aggravation events. If I could book 1 of these every day....I would sell everything and just be a pasta queen...it was that easy. This church has now booked us for their monthly pasta night and they expect the #'s to go up once the word gets around. Sometimes its these silly little things that make me happy!! Good luck....oh, oh, forgot?? what size meatballs? Chicken size?.....I prefer smaller meatballs if there is 2 center of plate items....IMO they look like more and its easier to make sure they are hot in the center.