Skip to Content

How much does it cost to feed 100 guests?

When it comes to hosting an event, whether it’s a wedding, corporate party, or charity event, one of the main expenses is catering. Deciding how much food to order and how much it will cost can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to feeding a large group of people. In this blog post, we’ll explore how much it costs to feed 100 guests and what factors can impact the price.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Feeding 100 Guests

Various factors can impact the cost of feeding 100 guests at an event.

Type of Event

The type of event can significantly impact the cost of catering. For instance, weddings and corporate parties tend to be more expensive than casual events like birthdays. Weddings, for example, often require multiple courses, fancy dishes, and elaborate presentation, which can significantly increase the price per plate. On the other hand, barbecues and picnics tend to have simpler menus and fewer courses, which can keep the overall cost down.

Menu Selection

The type of menu that you choose for your event can significantly impact the overall cost. For example, serving steak and lobster will be more expensive than serving chicken or a pasta dish. In addition to the main course, other factors to consider include the appetizers, desserts, and drinks. Adding multiple courses or premium dishes can quickly add up.

Guest Count

The number of guests that you’re feeding can greatly impact the cost per plate. For example, a caterer may charge $30 per plate for 100 guests, but the cost per plate may decrease to $25 per plate for 200 guests due to the economy of scale.

Service Style

The service style can also have an impact on the overall cost. For instance, if you choose a full-service caterer who provides staffing for the event, it will be more expensive than a drop-off service where the food is delivered and set up for self-service.

Geographical Location

The geographical location of your event can also impact the cost of catering. Large metropolitan areas and upscale venues tend to have higher catering costs than smaller towns or less luxurious settings.

How Much Does It Cost to Feed 100 Guests?

As previously stated, the cost of feeding 100 guests can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on various factors. The following are some rough estimates of what you can expect to pay per person, based on different levels of service and menu options.

Drop-Off Service

If you opt for a drop-off service that delivers the food but doesn’t provide staff to set up or serve the food, you can expect to pay between $15 and $25 per person. This typically includes the main course, sides, and disposable dinnerware.

Buffet Style

A buffet-style menu typically offers more food options than a drop-off service and includes a formal setup of buffet tables and chafing dishes. The cost can range from $25 to $50 per person and includes a wider variety of entrees, side dishes, and desserts.

Plated Service

A plated service is a formal sit-down dinner where waitstaff serve guests’ meals at their tables. The cost can range between $35 and $100 per person and includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Cocktail Reception

Cocktail receptions are becoming increasingly popular for events, especially weddings. This type of service typically includes a variety of finger foods, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks. Costs can range between $30 and $75 per person.


Feeding 100 guests for an event can be a significant expense, but the cost can be managed by considering the factors mentioned above. Selecting an experienced caterer that is willing to work with your budget is critical to ensure that your event’s guests are well-fed, and their expectations were met. Remember, regardless of the budget, focus on the guests’ experience and make sure they have a memorable time.


How much should I budget for food per person?

Knowing how much to budget for food can be challenging, especially if you are on a limited budget. The amount of money you should allocate for food per person varies based on several factors, including the location you live in, the food preferences of the individuals, and the quality of the food you plan to purchase.

As a general guideline, the average cost of food per month for an adult ranges between $150 to $300, depending on the individual’s age. For example, a college student may spend less than an elderly individual who has certain dietary requirements that increase the cost of their food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a moderate food budget is based on individuals aged 19 to 50 years old, and one person is expected to spend roughly $248.60 per month for a thrifty food plan. This budget is based on purchasing groceries and cooking at home instead of eating out at restaurants or buying pre-packaged meals.

The cost of food also varies based on your geographical location. In urban regions, the cost of living is typically higher, which can influence the cost of groceries. More widely available conveniences such as grocery stores may also drive prices up, while rural areas may have fewer selections, which can ultimately increase the cost of food.

It’s also important to consider the quality of the food you plan to purchase. While it may be cheaper to opt for processed and packaged foods, these items typically contain less nutritional value and often don’t provide high-quality sustenance to fuel and maintain your body’s needs. In contrast, purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains may be more expensive initially, but can ultimately save money by reducing medical bills and maintaining optimal health.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much to budget for food per person. Depending on your geographical location, dietary needs, and food preferences, your food budget can range from $150 to $300 per month. However, it’s important to consider choosing healthier and higher-quality foods to offer nutritional value that can positively impact your budget in the long-term.

What is the formula to calculate food cost?

Calculating food cost is a critical component of foodservice operations as it helps in determining the profitability of the business. Food cost is the cost of ingredients that go into preparing a dish, including food, beverages, and other consumables. In order to calculate food cost, a simple formula is used, known as the food cost percentage formula.

The formula for calculating food cost percentage is:

Food Cost Percentage = (Cost of Goods Sold/Revenue)*100

Cost of goods sold (COGS) is the total cost of all the ingredients that were used to prepare a menu item. It includes both direct and indirect costs, such as raw materials, labor, and overhead expenses. Revenue is the amount of money that is generated from the sale of that particular menu item.

To calculate the cost of goods sold, one must take into account the cost of all the ingredients used in making the dish. This includes the cost of the main ingredient as well as the cost of any additional ingredients such as spices, herbs, and condiments, among others. It is essential to keep accurate records of all the purchases made by the establishment, and it is preferable to use a software program that can track the inventory and cost of ingredients in real-time to make the calculation easier.

Once the cost of goods sold has been determined, it is necessary to calculate the revenue generated by the sale of the dish. This calculation can be done by multiplying the number of dishes sold by the price of each dish.

Finally, once the cost of goods sold and revenue have been calculated, the food cost percentage can be determined using the formula mentioned earlier.

It is important to note that food cost percentage is only one aspect of calculating overall restaurant profitability. Other factors that influence profitability include labor costs, rent, utilities, and other expenses. However, calculating food cost is a crucial first step in understanding the financial performance of a foodservice operation.