Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 19, 2014 11:47 AM

Help with reunion menu

Hello, due to low prepaid ticket sales we are having to caterer our reunion of 50 people. We are having heavy hors d’oeuvres will you advise if this is enough food:
3 – 4lbs Fruit Trays
3 – 4lbs Veggie Trays
10 – 5lbs. Pre-cooked flavored Chicken wings
5 – 6lbs (5/8 oz. sized) Meatballs
1 – Gallon BBQ sauce for meatballs
3 – 32 oz. Chicken Salad
4 – 20ct Cocktail sized croissants for chicken salad
2 – 2lbs Cheese Tray
2 – 40 oz. Toasted Party Pack Crackers
1 – 5lbs.5oz. (84 ct.) Cookie Tray
Also, another assorted desserts tray
6 – Gallons Sweet Tea in beverage dispenser
Water in beverage dispenser
64 – Cans Coke
64 – Cans Diet Coke
64 – Cans Sprite
2 – Cases of wine
2 – Cases of beer
1 – Small keg

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How much you should serve depends on the time of day you are holding the event and how many hours the event will last. If it's taking place during a meal time hour, expect people to fill up at your event. The basic rule of thumb is to plan 6-8 bites of food per person per hour of the event if you were serving appetizers then dinner BUT triple that amount if the appetizers ARE dinner. I don't think you have enough food. I also suggest you provide unsweetened iced tea as well; not everyone likes soda. I'd be a little ticked if I bought a ticket to your event and me, being a non soda or sugar consumer, only had water to drink all night.

    Check out this website to help assist with large quantity planning:

    11 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Thanks Cherylptw for your quick resopnse. We didn't think about unsweetened tea...we are southereners LOL! I will add unsweetened tea and more food as this is all we are serving and the event will take place 6pm-midnight .

      1. re: DessertsYummy

        In that case I think you are way short on food

        1. re: magiesmom

          Thanks Magiesmom. How much more food would either of you recommend adding?

          1. re: DessertsYummy

            First of all, any vegetarians? How about twice as many chicken salad croissants, more cheeseand perhaps some hummous ?

            1. re: DessertsYummy

              First of all, your event is expected to last six hours. You are serving during the dinner hour, what will you do when guests arrive and make a meal out of your offerings? Heavy hors d oeurves implies that the guest will leave "satisfied" or "full"; with the amount of food you have vs. the number of hours vs. number of guests, you will be running out of food in two hours Also, keep in mind you should always prepare food for an additional 10 % in case unforeseen guests show up or someone eats a little more than you have pegged per guest, you'll be covered. As someone who does a lot of these types of events, I can tell you that there is nothing worse than running out of food. You do not want your event to be remembered for this type of incident especially if guests are paying for food in the form of a ticket.

              For the cheese, allow at least 1 1/2 to 2 oz. per person total so 4 lbs cheese will feed 32 people @ 2 oz. each serving. You'll need at least another 2 pounds of cheese and at least 3 pounds of crackers total. Remember that people might take more than 2 oz. of cheese because really, no one is standing by weighing it out as guests approach the table.

              I suggest a few more dishes with more variety, like adding 1-2 more sandwich options. Use sliced ham or turkey rolled up in flour tortillas then cut & toothpicked into spirals. There are ways to prepare a little less expensively if that's your concern. Have someone buy & roast off an entire large turkey (which would be cheaper than sliced meat per pound) then turn it into turkey salad for use in spirals/sandwiches. A whole sandwich type ham for ham salad. Dried cranberries, nuts or chopped pineapples or halved grapes can be added to the turkey salad to give it some interest. This same method can be used to make the chicken salad you want to serve. Way cheaper to buy some leg quarters or other inexpensive chicken and prepare the salad.

              I like the popcorn idea upthread, but I don't like serving it in a bowl for everyone to stick their hands in. I served popcorn as part of an appetizer table for a wedding reception; I put it in paper cones so that people can pick them up and stroll around the room instead of standing at the table eating popcorn. You can do the same thing with other snacks like pretzels and potato chips. You need other snack type foods. Stuffed small red or fingerling potatoes, stuffed cherry tomatoes, celery stuffed with a caramelized onion or similar spread, a chafer of warm citrus olives, a variety of flatbreads are suggestions that won't break the bank. Shop at a Dollar Tree or other store for inexpensive olives and dried pinto beans that can be made into a dip to be served with tortilla chips or veggies.

              Finally, I think dessert should complete a meal even if it's appetizers. You don't have enough for your crowd; count at least two pieces as a serving of dessert if you are serving cookies or other small bite portions. Consider adding some brownies, lemon squares, pecan bars or something besides what you have. Get a few boxes of cake mixes and use those to make cake squares then use powdered sugar and milk to make a glaze.

          2. re: DessertsYummy

            6-midnight? Agreed you need more food as folks will definitely come back for seconds or thirds as the night progresses.

            You might want to consider staggerings the foods too. I would put out your nibble type foods first when the doors open-cheese/crackers, wings and veggies and double what you have and possible add some other easy finger foods. Bowls of seasoned popcorn, add hummus to veggie tray, mini quiches, etc

            Around 8 put out the meatballs, chicken salad and croissants. I think you will need more of those too. Add to that another sandwich type idea-spiral ham w/ rolls and mustard? A big green salad and loaves of crusty bread for the meatballs. Do you need to consider a vegetarian option?

            Around 10 put out the cookie and other dessert. Consider an urn for hot coffee.

            What kind of drinkers are coming? A bottle of wine is roughly 4-5 glasses so 2 cases is really only 2.5 glasses per person which over 6 hours is not that much. A 1/4 keg is about 75 beers which is about 1.5 per person. If your group is really weighted one way or the other you will run short. Plus, it's a reunion, some glasses will poured and then left on tables etc so people will go and get another.

            Agree with Cheryl you need some non-sugar, non alcohol options too. Seltzer and ice teas are good options.

            1. re: foodieX2

              I would say nix the sprite, halve the coke and diet coke, and at least double the wine.

              If the wine/beer puts the OP way over budget a cash bar option for those who have had their alloted 1.5-2 drinks would be an idea....

              1. re: foodieX2

                Re: staggered timing - As someone who eats dinner early (6 PM), I'd be ticked at an 8 PM time for "main dish" and disappointed to wait until 10 PM for dessert. Serve your main by 6:30. Nothing worse than a group of hungry people drinking too much.

                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  I like the idea of staggering, but agree that 8:00 pm is too late. Rather then a set time, just start bringing out the second round of food when the first round starts to run low. Same with dessert. When people stop picking on the main dish items, bring out the desserts.

              2. re: DessertsYummy

                I am a born and bred Southerner but I drink un sweet tea

            2. Depends on your crowd but I'd be doing way more beer. There are online guides for bar planning.

              2 Replies
                1. re: DessertsYummy

                  Welcome to Chowhound!
                  I hope the foregoing that happened in just a matter of hours, helps with your reunion.
                  I think you have enough of all items.
                  Please report back to us!

              1. I don't think you have nearly enough food or drinks to keep 50 people satisfied for 6 hours. I second the idea of staggering the offerings. Start with the veggie tray, cheese, crackers, add humus with pita chips, tortilla chips and salsa, bean dip, and/or guacamole, (get small paper cups for people to spoon the salsa, dips and humus into.) I also like the popcorn idea another option would be a snack mix. You are feeding southerners, add some pimento cheese to the cheese and crackers offerings.

                When the snacks start to run low put out the wings, meatballs, chicken salad, maybe a spiral ham (with mustard), add some rolls in addition to the croissants. I would add some salads to this course - pasta salad (not mayo based), a chopped green salad and/or a broccoli salad/slaw. I assume you are shopping at Costco or Sam's Club, consider getting some mini quiches or some other non-meat based hot appetizer.

                Put the fruit tray out with the cookies and other desserts. Serve coffee with the desserts.

                As for drinks, I agree with adding non-sweetened iced tea and I think you need more beer and wine.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Springhaze2

                  <<As for drinks, I agree with adding non-sweetened iced tea and I think you need more beer and wine.
                  2 cases of wine = 24 bottles = 1/2 bottle per person, in addition to the cases of beer and keg.

                  1. re: KarenDW

                    1/2 of bottle of wine per person equal 2 drinks. The average person will have 2 drinks the first hour of an event and one drink each hour for the remainder of the event. If the OP is counting on that wine to last the whole event, she will run out. The beer will probably run out as well.

                    Also, 3-4 meatballs per person, a pound of chicken wings, which are mostly bone, by the way, and 1/4 pound of fruit and veggies, which equals roughly 3/4 cup is not enough food for a six hour event per person. The average person eats more in the six hours including breakfast and lunch. If the OP just wants to serve a snack then they should not tell guests there will be heavy hors d' oeurves, it's misleading.

                2. This seems like a lot of food. You have...
                  3-4 meatballs/person
                  a POUND of chicken wings per person
                  nearly 1/4 lb of fruit and veggies per person

                  If you know your crowd are mostly meat-eaters, then the selection is totally fine. If you don't know the group's dietary prefs, then you might want to add some hummus or other non-dairy dip, and some corn tortilla chips. A non-meat, non-cheese protein item would be a nice touch.
                  Does your store sell "variety pack" sodas? If so, then maybe pick up a few of those, rather than the single variety "flats".
                  I think you'll want to have at least 25 lbs of ice. Plus whatever gel-packs you'll put around the keg to keep it cold. (easier to keep in place, rather than bags of ice).

                  The suggestion, upthread, to stagger the food service, is wise; for quality, food safety, and quantity reasons. Hopefully you have good refrigeration and heating facilities on site.

                  1. I'd take half of the red wine and the sprite and make a vat of Sangria plus add some more non alcoholic drinks that aren't full of sugar or sugar substitute like sparkling water.