how many and how much? how to estimate the right quantities for any meal
Estimating how much people are going to drink is alway challenging so better to have a few too many than a few too little
Planning to assure the right quantities of food and beverages for a dinner party or just any special event requires some organization. There are general rules, used in the food and beverage industry, to serve as a basis for any event.
7 to 8 glasses per bottle, if served prior to a dinner- 2 glasses per person, though usually less depending on how long pre-dinner drinks are planned
Typical champagne flutes are 6 ounce- and should be poured to 4 ounces (120ml).
Each bottle of wine (750mL) pours about 5-6 glasses per bottle. Estimate 3 glasses per guest for a dinner and 1-1/2 glasses for a lunch. I always over estimate to just have extra in case, especially if a meal with many courses or I know a group that enjoys to linger around the table.*
Wine should never be poured to the top of glass. The correct pour for most wines, aside from sweet wines, is about 4 ounces (120ml).
*I do want to note, since promoting over alcohol consumption is not a goal, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US suggests the following: moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. This definition refers to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.
Bottled water both still and sparkling
Estimate one-half bottle per person, more if it is a longer dinner of more than three hours.
A little something before sitting down for the meal? Serve items that complement your menu. Whether serving nuts, cheese twists, or spinach frittatas, you want to give your guests a teaser of the meal to come.
Estimate 2-4 hors d’oeuvres per person for one hour pre dinner, longer than an hour, estimate 6-8 items per person, and without dinner for over two hours 12-15 items per person.
Dips and spreads with crackers
Estimate about 1 cup dip or spread for 6 people, crackers can be counted at about 4 per person. For any type of chip, potato or pita, set out a bowl- assume at least 6 per person.
Meats: beef, chicken or pork
For beef, estimate 4 to 6 ounces (112-170 grams) per person. If serving family style, or if you have big eaters, make a few extra portions.
Italians estimate about 100 grams (about 4 ounces per person- 1 pound box serves 4 people ). But if serving pasta for as a starter, you may want to the portion size to be slightly smaller. I often measure out the uncooked pasta (since shapes differ) onto the plate to estimate amount-taking into account the pasta gets bigger. When considering portion size for starter versus main course, also consider the heartiness of the sauce and determine if more or less should be served- lighter the sauce (tomato) serve a slightly larger portion, the heavier the sauce (bolognese) a slightly smaller portion.
fServing as a side, estimate about 1/2 cup cooked rice per person- for a party of 6 people 1 cup cooked rice, 8 people 1 1/2 cups- but I always plan on slightly more.
5 to 6 ounces per person (about 165 grams), for either mashed or whole new potatoes.
2 heads lettuce for 6 to 8 people if being served as a starter or side dish, 4 heads if being served as a main course.