Recommended Catering Portions Per Guest

Catering involves a lot more technicalities than simply designing a menu with your cater. One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to catering an event is improperly estimated how much food to cater. Under-serving your guests is inconvenient and awkward, while over-serving wastes both food and money. So, how do you know how much food to serve at your catered event? Simply calculate portions per guest to ensure you cover your bases while remaining cost-effective and efficient. Continue reading to learn some tips on how to do just that!

Georgia Catering Services 678-340-0510
Georgia Catering Services 678-340-0510

Determining Quantity of Catered Food

Not planning the right amount of food can be disastrous on both ends. If you over-serve food at your event, you are wasting money and food. If you under-serve, you are not accommodating the needs of your guests. So, before you choose a catering menu, you must first gauge how much food you will need. Do this by asking yourself these questions:

How many people are attending my event?
What type of event is it?
How long is my event?

The answers to these questions will give you the tools you need to order the perfect amount of food for your occasion. For example, a family reunion that lasts all day will require more food and beverage than an office meeting that only lasts a couple of hours. In another example, a cocktail party will need less food and more beverage than a business breakfast or luncheon. Use your answers to figure out how many people you are feeding, and how long you will need to feed them for. Then meet with your caterer for professional guidance on completing the final order.

Appetizers and Hors D’oeuvre

For events that are centered on cocktails and drinks, such as a meet and greet, plan on only serving appetizers. The general rule of thumb is 8-10 appetizers per guest. For mid-day events that will have a light meal, such as luncheons, plan on serving less appetizers. A good starting point would be 3-5 appetizers per guest. For events with sit-down dinners as their focus, fewer appetizers are needed. Stick with 1-3 appetizers per guest.


For breakfast events, it is recommended to have beverages, side items, main entrees, and desserts. As for beverages, plan on 2 beverages per guest. For main entrees, a single 5 ounce portion per guest should suffice. And for sides, plan on having two sides per guest. Then plan for a wide selection of pastries or desserts, two per guest.


Beverages – 2 per guest
Appetizers – 2-4 per guest
Entrees – 5 ounce portion per guest
Sides – 2-3 per guest


Beverages – 2-3 per guest
Appetizers – 3-5 hors d’oeuvres per guest
Starters – 1 soup or 1 salad per guest
Entrees – 7 ounce portion per guest
Sides – 3 per guest
Dessert – 2 servings per guest

A Georgia Catering Company You Can Trust

Call Food for Thought Catering at 678-340-0510 for customized catering in Newnan, Georgia and its surrounding towns. Our expert catering coordinators and Executive chefs specialize in providing tailored menus and themes for all races, religions, ethnicities, and more. We can also accommodate special dietary requests and restrictions, including Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, food allergies, and kosher diets. Request a free quote, today!

Georgia Catering Services 678-340-0510
Georgia Catering Services 678-340-0510