Post # 1
Okay so for our at home reception in June we’re doing a buffet dinner. For the mains, we have a simple grilled chicken, Tuscan steak, and vegetable lasagna. We had our tasting last night and everything was delicious! 😊
Anyway, our caterer told us we need to now decide how much of each main we want. As in, do we want to have 1 chicken, 1 steak, and 1 lasagna for each person? Or do we want to split it differently? Having a 1 to 1 ratio not only seems like the most expensive option, but also a total waste of food. He said we know our guests best so it was up to us to tell him what direction we want to go. Maybe like 2/3 of everything? Or 1 to 1 for steak and less for the others?
So my question is for any of you that have done a buffet style event dinner. How did you work this numbers game? What is the best idea for us?
We’re planning on having between 140-150 people total. The steaks are 8 oz. The chicken is going to be a cut in half breasts (for people like myself that would only want a small piece) and a bone in thigh. The lasagna is a roll up, so not really as big as a square slice. We’ll also have servers at the buffet so if people want a smaller piece of steak or something, someone can cut it in half.
My main concern is having a lot of wasted for OR not enough for what people would want. Any help/ideas would be appreciated!
Post # 2
Does your caterer give some guidance? They usually have formulas they use to determine amounts of food. Do your friends/family tend to be big eaters – if you’ve gone to another buffet wedding or elsewhere, do they go back for seconds? Are they younger men who’ll eat more than older women? Will they be drinking heavily?
I don’t know your crowd, but my crowd would probably eat slightly less veggie lasagna, and slightly more steak. Many eat chicken at home a lot so they may opt for something different at a buffet. Your crowd may have more vegetarians, or people who try to avoid red meat.
Post # 3
You have to think about your specific guests – for instance, I had a handful of vegetarians, so I upped my veggie dish amount slightly because I knew other people would want it too and I wanted enough for those who couldn’t eat the meat, as well.
Keep in mind, many guests at a buffet like to try a little of everything, so you would be smart not to assume that someone will take chicken or steak – some people will take both even if they can’t finish their plate.
Post # 4
fascinated: He gave us some guidance, like the ideas about doing 2/3 of each and that people generally tend to go for the steak over chicken at something like this. But those are just generalities and he said it was up to us ultimately because we know our guests and he doesn’t. We have a pretty good mix of people. A lot of 25-40 year olds (our friends) and then a lot of 60-75 year olds (family and parents’ friends). No kids really except 3 teenagers and one 3 year old. I’d say most of our friends are pretty good eaters, that’s why I’m leaning towards having the most of the steak option and then maybe 2/3 for the others? We also only have I think 2 or 3 true vegetarians, but I’m sure there are several people that, like me, eat meat but generally prefer other things (like the lasagna).
LadyBear: Yeah I’m thinking a lot of people will take a little bit of everything. That’s why I think it’ll be helpful for servers to cut things in half if people want. I know I’m always looking for the smallest piece of meat in a buffet line and usually only huge pieces are available. But some people, like my husband, would take a big piece of chicken AND steak I’m sure.
What do you think about a 1 to 1 ratio for the steak and then 2/3 for the chicken and lasagna? Does that make sense?
Post # 5
There are a lot of vegetarians, in our family. Plus some that don’t eat meat, unless they prepare it, in their own homes. Both my daughters’ weddings had about 13% of the guests request the vegetarian entree. I’d cut the steak in 4 oz. servings – I think 8 oz. would result in a lot of waste. The steak serving size is a lot larger than the other entrees.
Post # 6
llevinso: I don’t think most people will ask the servers to cut the steak in half – they won’t think of it. I think the idea of having the steak served in 4 oz servings like 2XMOB suggested will be better. Even if people do request the 8 oz cut in half, that will slow down the buffet line, which you definitely don’t want.
Post # 7
Our caterer plans for everybody to have one of everything on the buffet. I would see if your caterer can cut smaller portions to account for this, and then just serve double portions to those who choose only one entree.