How Many Appetisers Do I Need For 150 Guests?

If you’re new to the catering industry, it can be quite difficult to figure out the quantity of food you’re going to need for each event that you cater. And this is particularly true when it comes to appetisers.

How Many Appetizers Do I Need For 150 Guests

Why? Well, because appetisers are quite small. Therefore, it can seem like a daunting task trying to gauge just how many of them people will end up eating over the course of the entire event. Even more so as everyone has different appetites.

Simply knowing and understanding these calculations like the back of your hand can take years of practice within the catering industry. However, with this guide we’ll try and help you as best as we can to understand how to calculate how many appetisers you’ll need for 150 guests. Why that number? Well it is a fairly standard number for a large event.

Do you have dishes that should be served hot? Check out our post on Ways To Keep Food Warm For A Party

What Is An Appetiser?

First of all, let’s go through the basics of exactly what an appetiser is, so you can better understand their size and function. Once you have this clear in your mind, it will help you calculate how many you might need for an event.

An appetiser, otherwise known as an hors d’oeuvre, is usually a small, savoury dish. As the name suggests, it is served before the main course to encourage the appetite. The dish can be either hot or cold.

Although appetisers are typically served before a main course, at a large event – such as a very big wedding reception – they could end up being the only, standalone food that’s actually served during the entire event. This is because as it’s far simpler than offering a main course each to around 150 guests.

See our suggestions for Finger Food Platter Ideas

How Do I Calculate How Many Appetisers I Need Per Person?

The number of appetizers you need per person will depend on a couple of different factors: what kind of event it is and how long the event will last. 

If it is a small wedding reception, for example (by this we mean around 30 people), you will need around six per person. About six appetisers is also the right quantity if they do decide to actually serve a main meal to people in a large event (around 100 or 150 guests) after the appetisers.

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But if it’s a cocktail type wedding reception, there won’t be a main meal served. In this case, everyone will be depending on the appetisers to satisfy their hunger. This means you should serve around 12 appetisers per guest. 

You also have to take into account the number of hours that the event will run for. For example, if it lasts around two hours, the numbers mentioned above will likely suffice. 

However, if the event is four hours long and includes a main meal, you’ll probably need around 10 appetisers per guest. And if there’s no main meal being served, you’ll likely need to prepare as many as 15 appetisers per guest.

How Many Appetisers Do I Need For 150 Guests?

To work out how many appetisers you’ll need for 150 guests, we’ll use the calculations from the previous section. But be daunted by the numbers – it’s really very straight forward.

  • If there’s going to be a main meal served at an event and the event itself is going to be two hours long, then you multiply 150 by 6. This means you’d need to serve at least 900 appetisers in total.
  • If an event lasts two hours but it doesn’t involve guests being served a main meal, you multiply 150 by 12. This means you’d need to serve at least 1,800 appetisers in total.
  • For an event goes on for even longer and lasts around four hours with a main meal being served, you multiply 150 by 10. This means you’d need to serve at least 1,500 appetisers in total.
  • If there’s no main meal being served at an event that lasts around four hours, you multiply 150 by 15. This means you’d need at least 2,250 appetisers in total.

Is all of this too overwhelming? Perhaps it’s time to call Ultimo Catering to do it all for you.

What Are Some Of The Best Appetisers To Serve At A Large Event?

So you’ve calculated just how many appetisers you’re going to need to cater for the event you’ve been hired for. Next you need to think about what the best kind of appetisers actually are to serve to people.

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Appetisers at large events need to be crowd pleasers; something that everyone is going to enjoy that will satisfy them and put a smile on their faces. After all, the food at any event is always one of the most exciting parts about it. 

You will also want to make sure that the appetisers you serve aren’t going to eat into your profits at the end of it all. Remember, a typical catering business should only really spend around 27 to 29 per cent of their revenue from an event on food products.

See our post on The Average Profit Margin Of A Catering Business for more info

Taking all of that into consideration, here are some of the ten tastiest but cost-effective appetisers you can serve at a large event:

  • Cocktail sausages
  • Croquettes (of any kind)
  • Individual cocktail-sized meatballs
  • Mozzarella sticks 
  • Cheese cubes or balls
  • Any spread (such as smoked salmon and cream cheese) on top of crackers or small toasts
  • Devilled eggs 
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole/salsa/soured cream
  • Antipasto on a stick
  • Stuffed mushrooms

For more suggestions, see our piece on Cheap Catering Food Ideas

Final Thoughts

When you start out with your own catering business, it can be a tough and daunting ride, especially when it comes to figuring out how many appetisers you need to serve at an event. 

When it comes to catering for large events, such as for 150 guests, there are certain calculations you can make to help you understand just how many appetisers you need to make for them. 

Hopefully this guide has helped you on your way to calculating the amounts you need for each event that you’ll cater for, plus what types of appetisers to serve to help you with cost-effectiveness.

You can read more about this here – What Is The Average Profit Margin Of A Catering Business?

Dylan Cole
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