How to Plan a Food and Drinks Budget for an Event

One big step in the planning of an event is the budget planning. It is a very engaging and daunting task. One of the most important parts of making a budget is setting aside a budget for food and drinks. Food and drinks are a very important part of any event. Food brings people together and it give makes them happy. So, the events involving any kind of food is automatically a success. Depending on what the event is supposed to be like, select the food items respectively. It involves the whole culinary services which include the caterers. Food is actually a very big chunk of the budget if the event is for a big time duration.

Follow the steps below to plan a good food and drinks budget for your event:


  • Number of Guests For Food And Drinks

The first thing to consider is the number of attendees. The shape of the budget is created by the number of attendees. A specific guest list means that the budget can be accurately estimated and an unspecified guest list means that the budget will need lots of changes all through the planning. For an event containing food and beverages served for free, it is advisable to always have a rough idea of the attendees. Otherwise, make a rough estimate according to the size of the venue. The bigger the venue more will be the number of attendees and the smaller the venue, lesser attendees.

  • Type of event

The next step is to decide the type of event that you want to host. The event can be big small. For a small time duration or for a week. See if it includes serving meals to all the guests or just the snacks and drinks are available. Is there a bar? Always make separate drinks and food menu, because sometimes the cost of drinks sums up to the cost of the food. Each event has its own menu. The menu also changes from place to place and season to season. Plan the menu according to the theme of the event. 

Explain your needs to the caterer and brief them about all the things you would need. Deciding the type of event early in the planning can greatly reduce the extra cost of the food and drinks bill. 

Deciding the type of event early in the planning can greatly reduce the extra cost of the food and drinks bill. Take inspiration from the past events. Check the guest list and food usage to plan accordingly.

Also, do not forget that the number of people to feed will also include your staff and volunteers. In addition to this check the menu and estimate the amount of food so that you can cut the amount at some places and increase it at others.

  • Cost Per Plate

The next thing is to decide the cost per plate. Make a food budget and divide it by the number of attendees. Always count the number of plates 10% or 12% more than the actual guest count to avoid any shortage. A buffet will save you the cost of individual plating and lesser food will be required. But in cases where the cost per plate has to be decided, never settle for anything more than your budget. It might not look like a big amount of money for one plate but might turn into a huge hole in the pocket when all of the food bills is combined. So, if your cost per plate is $30 USD, never exceed the $29 mark.


  • How much is too much?

Now the question arises, how much food and drinks is too much? You should keep in mind that you can not decide a number of guests that will actually show up at your event. So, you have to prepare the food and beverages for all the guests. But if the event is for a long duration of time, and the number of attendees is supposed to enter once, you can decrease the cost of food for the further meals accordingly. Always consult the catering and take their advice because they are experts at this and they can give you some great tips for saving the money.


  • How to control?

Some things are not in our control, but making a food budget work is totally under your control. A few tips and tricks can help you greatly in reducing the extra cost. Always tell the caterers to use the seasonal fruits and vegetables as the basic elements of the dish. Since these are cheaper than the nonseasonal ones, the raw material cost will go down. Secondly, serve cultural cuisine. This will give the guests something new and will not be very heavy in your pocket. Always buy in bulk. It is important to consider the price per plate. Just try as to split the food as much as possible.

The open bars that serve wine and beers cost more than the ones that serve alcohols. So, try balancing out the serving. Ask the bartender to limit the distribution of liquor after a point of time. Avoid serving bottled water if possible. Serve water in a glass or a pitcher to cut down the cost.

Another smart way to cut cost is to keep small sized crockery including plates and bowls. Do not order alcohol for the total number of attendees, there are some that do not drink alcohol. So, do not forget to mix it up with some nonalcoholic beverages.

  • The Emergency

The emergency funds are very important in planning any kind of budget. So, keep some amount of money or food in the case of shortage or any such mishap. Make sure not to spend out of that emergency fund, no matter how tempting it might get.

Including these small steps in your budget planning can greatly reduce the cost and also help you host a successful event with amazing food and drinking facility.

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