how to estimate food quantities
: catering handbook by edith weiss
all good quantity cook books will indicate the size of the portions, and all packaged food items indicate the total weight of the package. ultimately, it is for the caterer to determine if the portions indicated are what he wishes to serve, if not, then he must make the necessary adjustments. the size of the portion should be determined by
2. the time of service
3. the age and sex of guests (young, old, all men, etc.)
4. the appearance of the portion on the plate (or in the package).
for example, very young children eat very little and a small variety of mildly spiced foods. at parties, they eat ice cream, cake, and cookies, and drink milk, punch, and some soft drinks.
teenagers eat more than any other age group. they eat practically anything and everything, and the spicier the better.
people from their mid-twenties to mid-fifties have sophisticated tastes. they are apt to eat in moderation and good taste.
people past sixty eat much the same as the middle group, except for a lessening of the sharp and spicy foods.
when hors d''oeuvres are to be served, the following outline suggests a suitable number, all of which are considered generous servings
1. at a four-hour reception, regardless of the starting time - 12 per guest.
3. wedding reception, from 2:30 to 5:30 - eight per guest.
4. cocktail reception, from 3:00 to 6:00 - eight to ten per guest.
5. for all other occasions
, estimate four per guest per hour for the first two hours, and two per hour after that.
these figures include both hot and cold hors d''oeuvres and canapes.
they do not include relishes and dips.
for an open house, housewarming, or office party that is scheduled for all day or all afternoon, the number of hors du2019oeuvres is based on the length of time the average guest will remain. (although the party may last for six hours, the average guest may remain only one and a half to two hours.)
self-service vs. served
sometimes when guests serve themselves they tend to be very generous; at other times they may be very timid. for a self-service buffet allow slightly more than if the same buffet is to be served by waiters. guests do not al ways take more themselves, but since they do not always know how to serve properly, more food is wasted.
when calculating quantities for an hors d''oeuvres only cocktail party, figure approximately 12 pieces per person for the first hour (8 hot, 4 cold) and 6 pieces per person every hour past the first hour.
for hors du2019oeuvres served before dinner, figure approximately 6u20138 hors du2019oeuvres per person for one to one and a half hours of hors du2019oeuvre service. when shrimp cocktail is served, plan on 3u20134 pieces of shrimp per person for the first hour and 1 piece per person for each hour there after.
25 guests x 12 hors d''oeuvres = 300 pieces hors d''oeuvres for the first hour
25 guests x 6 hors d''oeuvres = 150 pieces hors d'' oeuvres for the second hour
hors d''oeuvre before dinner: number of people x 6 hdv for 1 to 1 and a half hour service
1 hour cocktail service before dinner for 25 guests you will need approximately 150 pieces
when calculating quantities for salads and side dishes, please figure approximately 5 oz per person if you are serving multiple salads and / or side dishes. if you are serving only 1 salad or side dish, please figure approximately 1/2 a lb per person. use the following chart to figure out quantities.
number of guests x .50 = number of lb needed
example: 10 guests x .50 = 5 lb needed
example: 10 guests x .30 = 3 lb needed
when calculating quantities for a first course, please estimate 2-4 oz of protein per person.
example: you are serving 10 guests salmon for an entree.
1/2 lb = 5 lb salmon needed
example: you are serving 10 guests salmon for a first course.
1/4 lb = 2.5 lb salmon needed