Planning a large party can cost a lot per head, especially for big events like weddings or birthdays. Hosting buffet-style meals is a great choice; it gives you diversity with dishes and allows people to mingle while eating. In our guide below, we’ll discuss best ways to minimize cost per person; choose the right dishes; and pick good caterers. Party Buffet: How Much per Head? When it comes minimizing average cost per person, buffet catering is best for larger events. Most catering services offer discounts for larger groups - so, for parties of 12+ people, the cost can be around £9.30 per person for 7 dishes, but for groups of 100+ people, the cost can drop to £8 per head for the same food quantity. There are ways to minimize cost per person regardless of the size of the party. If you decide to go for a buffet consisting of finger foods and bite-sized dishes, you can save yourself the hassle of estimating every portion size. Your guests would enjoy not having to cut up their food, too. Alternatively, minimize the number of appetizers and alcoholic beverages and opt for more vegetarian options and only one signature cocktail. The best part about hosting a buffet is that there are so many presentation options; even simple vegetable tartlets can look elegant yet appetizing. Plan in Advance So, what do you need to plan beforehand? For most catering companies, it takes an average of 3-5 working days to plan an event centered around a buffet. Take into consideration that the bigger your guest list is, the longer it will take to prepare food. Once you send out invitations out, do a round of phone calls about 7-10 days in advance. This will give you enough time for coordinating food quantities with your caterer. Doing a headcount is also important because some catering companies require a minimum number of guests for a full blown buffet (on average 30 people). For smaller parties, some offer an option to host a mini buffet (parties of 10-20 people). Meanwhile, ask people about any allergies or food restrictions you should be aware of prior to the event. This way, if there are many guests with nut allergies, you can choose more dishes that don’t use any nuts in the recipe. Recommended Menu Options There is a wide food variety when it comes to buffets - from canapes to raw meats and more. Almost all catering providers offer both hot dishes and cold dishes, or a mix of both. By opting for hot dishes, the food will appear more filling as most main dishes are served hot. Some options offered by caterers include: Slow roast rib; Pork belly; Salmon dish, such as steak or even pie; Side dishes including rice, potatoes, and other roasted vegetables. In contrast, cold dishes, while also full of great options, are often associated with appetizers. So how do you make sure your guests leave satisfied? We recommend ordering a variety of hot and cold dishes. Some great cold items include: Asian style pork salad; Beetroot carpaccio; Dips (such as hummus, salsa) with pita chips; Potato salad. Prices-wise, caterers typically charge for a selection of dishes rather than per dish, so prices wouldn’t necessarily change if you chose this sort of combination, just like for a seated dinner. Other Considerations Food aside, there are other things you have to take into account when planning an event centered around a buffet. Firstly, providing equipment should be included in the total catering price. Most caterers arrive far in advance on the day, and take as long as necessary in terms of table setup and decorating before the party. Depending on who your catering provider is, waitstaff can either be included in the price or cost an extra fee. If you are hosting a party during a holiday, consider the fact that the rates may be higher due to high demand. These additional charges may also be applicable to events scheduled very early in the morning or very late at night. For thematic buffet parties, allow some extra time for your caterer to prepare accordingly. Give both of you enough time to think everything through and make sure your demands are both in line with your budget and time limitations. Summary: Larger events tend to be cheaper per person, but there are ways to save money on buffets even for smaller parties. Make sure to plan in advance, especially for big events like weddings. Take into account dietary restrictions and discuss them with your caterer. Opt for a combination of hot and cold dishes; your guests will feel as though they are having a sit-down feast. Don’t forget to think through minor details, such as the date and time of your event. Would like more information on our terms of service? Visit catery.co.uk and find out more information.