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Jun 18, 2009 05:35 PM

How many appetizers do I need?

How many bites per person per hour for appetizers? 25 people for 2 hours, unfortunately from 5pm-7pm.

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  1. 6 per person is a general rule of thumb, but you're planning on two hours of "wait" time so, in your circumstances, I might use a factor of 8 per person.
    If you circulate your trays at 15 minute intervals (three trays of assorted appetizers per interval) and mix them with conversation and beverages you should survive the ordeal just fine.

    1. how many different hd's are you going to have? it's usually a total of 4-6 pieces per person per hour, so multiply that by 25 and then divide by the number of different types you will have. you may want to go with 6 per person since it's during 'dinnertime'

      1. Usually 4-6 per person per hour. Some will eat more and some less. And is also depends on the appetizer. A simple shrimp wrapped in bacon is different than a hearty slice of beef on a baguette with toppings or a simple asparagus spear wrapped with proscuitto. Don't think the second house they eat less. Sometimes people eat more the second hour compared to the first so 4-6 per hour really holds true. Is dinner following? or is just this an appetizer party?

        1. I am inclined to go with 8-10 per person per hour if it is just an appetizer party, 4-6 per person if dinner is following. For variety, you will want to have at least six different appetizers, hot and cold. FYI, my experience is that a crudité platter is the last thing to be eaten.

          5 Replies
          1. re: AntarcticWidow

            No offense. 8-10 is alot, but if that is the entire meal and dinner that is different. It is important to really define what type of party and are their sweets or dinner following, etc. And bowls of nuts, pretzels, olives, I know at times seems tacky but it really works at parties. People do like them. They are great around the bar area.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              None taken, I use that formula when appetizers are the entire meal. You do bring up a good point, though about defining the party. Something else to consider is the age group of the guests. Younger men (20-30) will eat way more than their elders in the tender age group of 50-60. The older crowd also seem to be more carb-phobic, at least that is what I have observed.

              1. re: AntarcticWidow

                The fact that the OP said, "unfortunately" about the 5-7 timeframe, makes me think this is an appetizer event with no dinner following, which will lead to people eating more.

                If I were prepping for this party, I would make 4 to 5 different appetizers, each with 4 to 5 bites per person, erring on the high side. I would also put out along side the passed appetizers a cheese plate and crudites with dip.

                1. re: AntarcticWidow

                  Good point with age too, also ... women vs men. It really is hard. Smaller parties are usually much easier because I am sure you know the guests better but it is always difficult.

                2. re: kchurchill5

                  8-10 is not a lot per person/per hour if, as AntarcticWidow said, it is *just* an appetizer party. She did specifically state that in her first sentence.

                  The lower number, 4-6, as others and you have stated, is good if there is a dinner following. But it doesn't seem like there will be be a dinner served, so AW's 8-10 suggestion is appropriate, as well as knowing the "type" of people at the party. If they're a bunch of lumberjacks, the OP might want even more than 8-10. ;-)

              2. As a Personal Chef/caterer, I use the 4-6 bites per person per hour rule during a meal time. For 25 people I would suggest making 5 different apps - 2 meat, 1 fish, 1 veg, 1 sweet. Make about 50 pieces of each.

                4 Replies
                1. re: KiltedCook

                  In my market, you would definitely run out of food and folks would be looking for more.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Considering the time of the cocktail party (5 to 7 pm), some guests might treat the event as their supper and eat more than the normal amount.
                    Even people planning on going on to a dinner might be hungry at that time of day, and simply eat a lot.

                    This really varies by groups. In Washington DC, there are groups that barely touch the food, while others are like locusts. When I used to plan events, I always took the guest list into account.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      I couldn't agree more, some devour, some graze. You really have to know the list somewhat or talk to someone who does. It is the only way to get a true account.

                  2. re: KiltedCook

                    My area that would be about right, but it really depends on the crowd. My friends would devour them. A party I recently catered, ate 80% of that. It really depends. I knew my friends so I made extra, I didn't know the group I catered so I was safe, they ate little tiny bites and not much else. People define the party and sometimes you just can't tell. I try really hard to get to know any clients so I get an idea of what and how they eat. It really helps.