A couple months ago I was at the grocery store with a girl I worked with at the time. We were buying food for an ice cream social we were having at work. We had a certain amount of money we had to spend and we needed to be able to get enough ice cream and toppings for the employees. The girl I was with automatically picked the cheapest quart of ice cream she saw and moved onto the ingredients. What I realized then is if you are not used to buying for a large group of people you may not know all the steps and tools the stores offer to allow you to make sure you are getting the most for your money for the amount of people you need to serve and how much to get per person.
I would like to share some tools I use when I am planning on feeding a large group on a limited budget.
1. First you need to figure out how many people you are feeding. A general rule of thumb when planning how much food to buy depends on the event. If you are throwing a party that is a nice sit down dinner and they RSVP plan for that many and then add an couple additional plates just in case. If you are doing an event that does not require RSVP like an ice cream social or a church event, plan for half and add a few extra.
For the party I am throwing this week there are about 130 people that are in the group that were invited. I am planning food for 80. One of my biggest fears in life is to run out of food at a party. It is always better to have too much than not enough.
2. Now you have decided how many people to serve for it is time to map how much you need to purchase. Looking at the label is the most important part. Know how much is in a serving will help you to know how much to buy. Always look at the label.
3. There is also a really great tool the store provides to help you know which brand or size is a better deal. Just because the price is cheaper doesn’t mean you are getting a better deal. Most stores will show you the price per ounce or per item.
Take a look at this picture below. The top picture looks like it is cheaper, but if you look the top picture is only for 300 forks and the top picture is for 600 forks. So in reality for only 21 cents more you are getting 300 forks.
4. Just because it is cheaper to make yourself does not always mean it will be. You have to take in consideration time and the cost of time. Often store products may be cheaper if you are limited on time, help and resources.
5. Often products are cheaper at different stores, but if you are driving across town to get one product just because it is a few cents cheaper doesn’t mean you are really going to save money. Once again time and gas needs to be a factor when planning on a budget.
6. Be wise when planning. It is called planning for a reason. Make sure you are researching out to the products to know what the best deal is.
I hope these tips will help you better serve food for your next party or event. Planning food for a large group is not as scary as it looks.
What tips or questions do you have about planning for a large group? I love to hear your comments!