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Smooth and Cost-Effective: Answer These 6 Questions to Determine the Perfect Catering Budget

Smooth and Cost-Effective: Answer These 6 Questions to Determine the Perfect Catering Budget

Individuals charged with planning an event recognize how overwhelming the task can be. For someone who has never planned an event before, knowing which step to take first is challenging. Always start with the budget and the food being served, as these elements can make or break an event. What should a person consider when creating a catering budget?

The Guest List

Determine how many guests will attend the event, who these individuals are, and whether dietary restrictions come into play. The number of people increases the cost of catering but often helps to keep the cost per person down. Events where children will be present require two menus—one for the adults and a second for the children—and some planners might find they need a third menu for those with dietary restrictions. When this is the case, it might be wise to hire Stamford Catering for the best halal buffet catering services. Get this information early in the planning process to determine the overall catering budget for the event.

Complexity of the Menu

Simple meals cost less to prepare and serve, so keep this in mind when making food selections. Determine which type of meal to serve and how much the different options will cost per head. Barbecues, platters, and buffets often cost less than sit-down meals. Speak to the caterer to learn all options and determine which works best with the event theme and the overall budget for the function.


Beverages fall into a separate category when planning an event. Some event planners limit the selection to tea and coffee while others choose to offer an open bar. Alcoholic beverages add to the budget, and event planners must decide whether they want to offer a few selections for guests to choose from or go with a wider range of options. Catering companies typically provide both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, so discuss what you feel comfortable offering to those in attendance.

Staff Requirements

Some events require wait staff. These individuals often appear at events with fancy and complex menus, and this increases the overall cost of the event. Talk with the caterer to learn how many staff members will be needed based on the choices you are considering, as staff at full-service events can consume half of the catering budget. A person might find they wish to go with a simpler meal to avoid these costs.

Food Preparation Facilities

Consider the venue when determining a catering menu for an event. Does the facility have the necessary equipment on hand or will the caterer need to provide items? When the caterer provides these items and must lease them for the event, that drives the cost of the catering up. Don’t overlook table linens, tableware, glassware, and items of this nature. Consider taking on this aspect of the event to cut catering costs.

Additional Factors

How long is the event? This affects the cost one will pay, especially when the catering provider must bring in staff. Location plays a role in the cost, as the caterer will factor travel time into the price. Speak to the caterer and learn about any additional fees they may impose when planning the event budget so there are no surprises when the bill comes due.

Talk with multiple catering companies to find the right provider for your event and budget. Food and drink choices play significant roles in the event’s success, so never skimp in this area. You want guests to remember your event for the right reasons, and the choice of caterer plays a role in this. Keep this in mind as you go to make this important choice.

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