So, you’ve ordered from Savory Catering and Events in the past and you think you’re ready to tackle your own menu? Not to worry, because even though we might not be providing the food, we’re still at your service!

Here are our tips and guidelines for estimating the portion size and amount of food needed when putting together your own menu for a party.  In our years of experience, we’re sorry to report that there is no exact formula for planning the amount of food you’ll need for any given party or event. It’s more of an art form that depends on the type of food you’ll be serving, what time your event will be held, and the composition of guests (i.e. men versus women and the number of children) attending your event.


Cocktail Hour Menu

A good measure of food is a general estimate of 3-4 bites or pieces per person for a 45 minute to one-hour cocktail party. Should your cocktail party last up to 90 minutes, you may want to prepare as many as 6-10 pieces per person.

Main Menu Portion Guidelines Per Person 

Poultry, meat or fish - 6 ounces when you have one main dish, 8 ounces when you offer two or more main courses.

Rice, grains - 1.5 ounces as a side dish, 2 ounces in a main dish such as risotto.

Potatoes - 5 ounces

Vegetables - 4 ounces

Beans - 2 ounces as a side dish

Pasta - 2 ounces for a side dish, 3 ounces for a first course, 4 ounces for a main dish

Green Salad - 1 ounce undressed weight.

Remember, anything you cook typically shrinks in the process. For example, when you start with an 8-ounce piece of meat, you will end up losing up to 2-3 ounces. This is especially true if you tend to cook your meat or fish to well done, as it loses much of its moisture.



A great way to let your guests truly indulge in dessert is to offer a variety of small portions or bites of different desserts. Your guests will be more inclined to try a decadent bite if they don’t have to feel guilty afterwards! For a great conversation piece, set a table for desserts in the center of the room!


Rules of Thumb:

Always round UP, never round down.

Anticipate which food selections will be the most popular and make sure to have more of those dishes on hand.

The more choices you offer, the smaller your calculation of individual portion size should be.

Add “bulk” items to your menu. For example, at a sit-down dinner, have plenty of bread on the table. For a cocktail party, offer nuts, olives, and other snacks to fill people up.

Don’t repeat a main ingredient. For example, don’t serve a pork appetizer and in addition to a pork entrée.

Make sure there is a variety of color and texture as well as both hot and cold food on the menu.

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