(Closed) Final Head Count to Caterer ?

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think you need to give actual head count, but give them an adult head count and a childrens head count

Post # 4
Member
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

No don’t scale it right back. Some kids eat more than others, some adults portions may even get scaled down which might not be pre agreed by yourselves. Is 15 plates really that big a deal ? And if it’s not all eaten it can be boxed up and taken home I’m sure! 

Post # 5
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

We are going to lowball by a few people, I think, just to be on the safe side for those guests who R.s.v.p. and don’t show up. Our caterer makes enough extra food for 5% over – which isn’t a ton of people, so we’re not going to go too crazy, but enough that if there are 3-4 people we’re uncertain on, we’ll take a chance on “no” and then add them at the end if we need to.

I don’t know if the 5% thing is standard or not. You are scaling down about 10% by going from 155 to 140. I would maybe drop the count by about 5-7 people rather than 15?

Post # 8
Member
1361 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I have never heard of people scaling back.  What happens if they all show up?  I personally always plan for the worst case scenario: everyone who is invited RSVPs and everyone who RSVPs shows up.  I’d rather spend the money to be safe than to have people be hungry.

Post # 10
Member
583 posts
Busy bee

I agree with @Tiffmorris, the caterer probably has their own way of figuring out kids’ meals so I would tell them #of adults and #of kids and let them apply their calculations to figure out a good estimate.  That’s definitely not something you should do because you don’t have any experience in estimating how much 30 kids eat but they do.

For my RSVP list, I have a bunch of under 1yr olds coming so I just completely took them off the RSVP list – I have no idea why I even had them on there in the first place, most of them will still be drinking milk (either from mom or powder)! So, if you have someone under 1, take them off.

Post # 11
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

I haven’t heard of people scaling back, either – and I’ve heard all kinds of complaints about overpaying for people who never showed up. So, 2 + 2 …

When it’s a matter of 5%, that’s <10 people at most weddings, so we’re not talking about drastically huge amounts of food here. If you have 150 R.s.v.p.s and you tell your caterer 150, you will pay for 150 meals and they will make enough food to cover about 157-158. If 5 of those guests flake out on you, then you’ve paid for 5 uneaten plates and generated 12-13 plates worth of wasted food.

If, on the other hand, you expect 150 people and tell your caterer 145, they prepare food for 152-153. If the same 5 people don’t show up, you’ve paid for what was eaten and you’ve generated only 7-8 plates worth of wasted food. If the stars align and the 5 likely deadbeats do actually show up, then you still pay for the actual # of plates consumed, and even less food gets wasted.

I choose Scenario B.

Post # 13
Member
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Honestly it’s not worth saving a couple hundred dollars to risk not having enough food prepared, unless the venue has the catering onsite. If the catering is onsite, they can theoretically go back to the kitchen for more food (assuming all the ingredients are in stock). If the catering is brought in from offsite, you have a finite amount of food showing up.  If everyone who RSVP’s “yes” shows up and brings an appetitie, you’re screwed.  

I’m all for saving a few dollars wherever I can, but this is not where i’d choose to save my money.

Post # 14
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

fishbone  raises a good point. I feel safe in doing this because our reception is in a hotel ballroom and I know they can get a few extra chicken breasts, etc., from their restaurant if it becomes necessary. I would be a little more conservative with a different catering scenario. That’s worth thinking about. It also might make a difference whether it’s buffet or plated – the danger of running out is greater at a buffet because it tempts a lot of people to take more food than they will finish. With plated meals, the kitchen has more control over the size of the helpings. Still, I think you could safely underestimate 2-3 people in almost any scenario.

Post # 15
Member
989 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

How does scaling back work when you have to tell your venue/caterer how many chairs to set up for guests?  For example, do you tell them to make food for 85 but set up 90 place settings?

Post # 16
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

I would think they’d set up seating for the number of guests you tell them (again, lowballing by only a few). If a few more people show up, it’s not usually a crisis to set up a few more chairs. Again, this is why I’d recommend making it ~5 rather than ~15.

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