Catering in bulk quantities

Being a qualified caterer by trade, I hate to see food wasted when others do catering that don’t know quantities. I try to serve correct portion sizes when doing catering jobs (I don’t get paid for them as it’s all voluntary work, so my costs is ingredients only if listed for catering jobs)

I often get asked how much food do I need for 20+ serves.

Here is what I do.

  • if it’s stand up finger food/high tea allow 4-6 pieces per person

If it’s a main sit down meal for 20


  • 100g per person(*raw weight is 150g per person as it shrinks when it’s cooked)
  • for sausages allow 2 thin per person,
  • mince I use 2kg for 20 people
  • if purchasing whole chicken I get 4 and get them to cut into 8 pieces each chicken
  • if it’s a pulled chicken dish 3-4 whole chickens
  • if it’s drumstick 1 per person
  • if it’s skewered meat 2 per person
  • If it’s large prawns you can get away with 3 per person


  • 2x casserole dishes (that each casserole dish serves 10 people)
  • 1x 20 litre slow cooker/crockpot serves 20 people
  • 2kg salad

salads/vegetables (1 cup cooked veg or 1 cup salad is a normal serve)

  • 2kg salad for 20 people
  • 2x large baking tray serves 20 people for cooked/roast vegetables

bread/ pasta/rice

  • a roll per person have half whole meal and half white
  • 4 garlic bread cut into 8 for 20 people
  • 2kg rice/pasta for 20 people (* these days with many not eating rice/pasta due to paleo/keto etc I do 1 kg for 20 people of normal and provide 1kg cauliflower ‘rice’ or shirataki noodles for those on paleo/keto)

drinks non alcoholic

  • each fizzy bottle you would normally get 5 standard cups per 1.25ltr bottle so for 20 you need x4 bottles per hour and have some sparkling mineral water or ginger beer/ginger ale for those who don’t want soft drink. You can also serve juice.
  • Tea coffee I get in bulk container and 2-3 Ltrs milk per 20 people plus sugar I allow 2tsp per cup x 40 cups for 20 people (2 cups per function)
  • Water jugs are a must

tip caterers will always over catering you order a catering job.

so I reduce meat by 1/3 or allow 100g per head

for 50  people:

5kg meat

5 kg Salad

for casseroles/soup 3x slow cookers (usually a slow cooker holds 2kg of food)

For rice/ pasta 5 kg for non paleo/keto

if paleo/keto use cauliflower ‘rice or shirataki rice/shirataki pasta.