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Help! I'm having 150 people over how much food do I buy?

Hi everyone!
So saturday night I'm hosting a fundraiser and 150 people have signed up to go. I'm going to costco tonight to buy food, but it's really hard for me to conceptualize how much to get. I'm thinking cheese, dips, italian meats—and anything else I can get my hands on. Is there a rule of thumb? It's not dinner, but it is from 7-10. Is four cases of wine enough? Also I'm going to get beer (anythoughts on how much)? Thank you in advance! Perhaps you can read the panic between the lines of my post!

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  1. http://www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/Dummi...
    That's a site which will help you determine the quantities you need.

    1. Here is a site where you can figure out how much beer and wine to purchase. Don't forget about juices, sodas, and waters for the non-drinkers.
      I am a huge planner and list maker, and the thought of having 150 people tomorrow without a detailed food plan makes me a wreck just thinking about all you have to do in less than a day! Good luck to you!

      1. You can figure 5 glasses to a bottle of wine, but if people are pouring for themselves, AND if the glasses are large, you might not make it. Too many folks over-pour. Are you having a bartender/wine-liquor server?

        2 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          Yes, I have 3 servers...I have six cases of wine and i'm getting beer and water/juice soda!
          @mschow: I am a wreck!!! Because it's a fundraiser I had know idea it would spiral into such a big event...I've never done such a thing in my life. It's bigger than my own wedding. All I can do at this point is just go Costco and buy 100lbs of food and hope for the best. But any more tips, please bring them on!!! Thank you everyone so much!!!!!

          1. re: judybrune

            I did this recently for 250, some kids, and Costco all the way as we had to shop the afternoon of the party - no freezer space. We had 6 hot hors doeuvres per person and they were served on passed trays. This kept everyone busy and we had the right amount.Then we had 2 veggie platters, cheese(selection of 8) and crackers, dips (this was overkill) and chips and a huge antipasto on buffet tables. We had a dessert table at the end- three Coscto cakes. We had more than enough food.

          1. Paging Chef Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible! Truthfully, Judy, sounds like if you invest a little upfront planning time, you can buy everything you need at Costco. You might need some transportation and food storage help. Gio's web link to determining food quantities looks great and I will keep that for future reference.

            Having hosted a few big bashes in the past, 7-10 p.m. may not include dinner on the invitation, but more than likely there will be some very hungry people who are planning to MAKE it dinner.

            Step 1 - plan your menu. You want large trays of food, otherwise you will need 2,000 canapes & hors d'oevres. Such short notice, I wouldn't make anything myself nor have high expectations for a "chowish" menu. This is the time for the veggies & dip, shrimp w/ cocktail sauce, slabs of smoked salmon w/ pumpernickel, large jloints of roast beef, ham, turkey, deli meat and cheese trays. Are you serving dessert? This is the time for full sheet cakes or those huge carrot cakes I always see at Costco. What is your budget? My game plan is always to craft my "dream" menu, estimate and trim/substitute items based on the budget.

            Step 2 - now that you have your menu, figure out serving tables/tableclothes, cutlery, glasses, salad, dinner & appetizer plates, platters, paper doilies, what ever you will need to serve your menu. If you are hiring servers, cleaners or a bartender, figure out that cost as well.

            Step 3 - what to drink with your food? Figure 4 glasses wine to each bottle and 6-8 glasses soda per 2 liter bottle. We are not beer drinkers, but I would estimate 1 1/2 beers for each person if they are all adults, you will know your crowd and can do that better. Will you need coffee? Rent a coffeemaker? Write down your drink garnishments - limes, lemons, tons of ice, cherries, paper umbrellas, whatever. Make your list, estimate cost and move on.

            Take your 3 lists and try to think of which store in your area is most likely to have all the items you need. Sounds like you already decided on Costco (I would have chosen them too). Visualize all the stuff you need - unless you have a semi truck as a personal vehicle, sounds like you need to enlist some help buying & transporting (and probably storing) all this. Where will you keep the beer & sodas cold? Although here in Ohio, it is cold enough to keep in my unheated garage (LOL!)

            If you invest the up front time in a little planning, use a little ingenuity/innovation, make some detailed lists, enlist some help, you should be able to have enough time to put on makeup and lipstick prior to the event. Good Luck!

            1. Have found myself in this predicament a couple times not really a disaster I don't think. Few thoughts inspired by the cold weather.

              - You could do some big vats of chili with lots of fixings. Could be served in small cups.

              - Get a big ham and do a bunch of mustards etc do go with. Because you have servers they can help keep things neat.

              - French bread sandwiches (don't dry out like tea sandwiches) with pruscuitto and really good butter. And goat-cheese, basil and tomato. Wrapped in sandwich paper

              - Grilled cheese bar in the kitchen.

              - A bunch of different kinds of breads served the cheeses, olives, etc

              - Warm chocolate chip cookies -- made and served right away

              - Big pot of warm apple cider with apple jack on side for spiking.

              1. Get the largest two crockpots you can get your hands on. Get 2-3 bags of Costco's ready made Italian frozen meatballs. Toss in the largest 1-1/2 cans of mushroom soup, 1/4 c of Worcestershire and huge diced onion, or 2-3 large diced onions. Turn it on low overnight. Fast, hot and no extra serving --just nice toothpicks nearby. Did this in the fall and folks couldn't eat them fast enough .

                Also at Costco ---big gorgeous chunks of Gouda, brie, Tillamook cheddar--selection their mixed crackers on a huge wooden platter surrounder by fruit. Self-serve and visually impressive.

                The tiny individual brownies are excellent, taste and look homemade.

                Good luck, can't go wrong on overbuying on the wine...better to have more than run out, esp. at a fundraiser!

                1. Yikes. I don't know about quantities but we just had a little get together for about 25 people. I made sandwiches using whole wheat hoagie rolls, artichoke bruschetta topping, smoked ham, dry salami and provolone cheese. They were easy to make up and serve. At the Sam's club I go to they have hummus and bruschetta topping in big tubs. You could spread that on bagel chips (bruschetta) or on cucumber slices (hummus). The quantities of beer would depend on how many big drinkers you'll be having, but I have had 2 Heineken keg cans last for a whole party of around 15 beerdrinkers (without any other alcoholic beverage). Maybe 5 of the regular and 5 of the light would do ya? It might be easier for your servers than opening bottles.

                  1. I do this for a living...order large quantities of food, not give fund raisers

                    1) Did you commit to anything in particular?
                    2) What's your budget?

                    a) Costco fruit and/or veggie trays are hard to beat. At events we cater fruit trays are heads and shoulders more popular than veggie trays. We always have veg left over.

                    b) Costcos in my area (San Diego) sell 3' sub sandwiches. These are great because you can simply displaly them on a long board/table with a yard stick next to it and call it Sandwich by the Inch. (Put cut it yourself because your guest WILL be more generous than you)

                    c) Costco sell bags of Tyson or Kirkland chicken wings in many flavors. They're pretty pretty good, but since this is Super Bowl weekend supplies may be limited

                    d) Cocktail meatballs. Costco also sells 1/2 oz or 1 oz precooked meatballs. Heat and serve with BBQ sauce, sweet & sour, teriyaki, chili sauce, etc.

                    e) Mini raviolis or tortellini. Cooked off they can be served hot or cold. If served hot, serve with jarred marinara sauce. If cold, offer with salsa, especially a fruit salsa with a high percentage of papaya or mango

                    f) Hummus and pita chips

                    g) Shrimp platter with cocktail sauce (this will go quick). Alternately, take a couple blocks of cream cheese and soften. Put on your serving tray and top with several jars of shrimp cocktail that can be found in most refrigeration sections. The brand I can get most frequently is Lassco. cream cheese, like ranch dressing, will sell just about anything. Serve with crackers. You can also cover the cream cheese with chutney instead of shrimp cocktail.

                    h) Bruschetta but top with with something other than tomatoes. Try tapenade or caponata both of which can be purchased ready made, as can many spreads.

                    i) For dessert brownie bites, ruleglah, Costco sells frozen mini cream puffs and eclairs. These are great, simply thaw and serve plain or with an assortment of sweet sauces like chocolate, caramel and marshmellow (expect people to eat about 5 of these things each, and that's coservative). Cookies always go. So do Hershey' Kisses and M&Ms in bowls scattered around.

                    j) This recipe makes 200 servings of antipasto salad
                    5# crookneck squash cut into chunks and grilled
                    5# zucchini cut into 1/2" rounds and grilled
                    5# red onions, sliced and grilled
                    5# red bell peppers, cored, cut into large pieces and grilled
                    5# green bells, cored and cut into large pieces and grilled
                    6 each eggplants cut into rafts, grilled and then cubed
                    2 - #10 cans/jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
                    1 kilo Kalamata olives, drained and pitted (you buy them pitted)
                    6# baby mozzarella balls (1/3 - 1/2 oz each), drained, halve or quarter if desired
                    1 gallon roasted garlic basalmic vinegar dressing (or use reg. Italian)

                    Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate about 4-8 hours. Drain and serve atop a bed of shredded lettuce. You can also add grape tomatoes but tomatoes are really spendy right now.

                    Who ever above said people coming between 7-10 would plan on making the event dinner was spot on. Probably 35-50% of your attendees will be planning on making your spread dinner. If that's the case, plan on at least 3 pieces of each appetizer/person. For something like chips and salsa, figure 2 oz salsa per person and about 3 oz. chips. If using a full size dessert plan on 1.5 servings per person, if using mini or bite-sized desserts up it to 3-4 pieces per person. The fewer options you have the more people will take of each one. The more selections you offer, the less of each one people will take because they want to try a little of eveything. If this thing is stand-up, people will be more inclined to graze throughout the time they're there than they would be if they were sitting down or stationary in one location.

                    Good luck.

                    1. All the advice you've gotten so far is good. The only suggestion I can offer is that you chose items that are easily maintained and won't leave you stuck in the kitchen all night or having to micro manage your servers.