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Food and Cakes

Cost of buffet dinner

I have never been one to want a buffett style dinner, but have started to consider it lately due to the fact it tends to be slightly cheaper and has more options (good for a mix of guests like vegitarian, can't eat pork, etc). However, every time I see pricing for food I am a bit confused.The plating option outright says "$$$ PER PERSON" while the buffet option says (for example this comes exactly from my receptions catering manager)"Pick three salads, Two Accompinants, Two Entrees, and Wedding Cake for Dessert"  for $106. The reason I am confused is because it doesn't tell me how far that will go. How many buffet set ups will I need for a wedding that is at around 100 guests?

I guess I just need clarification on what the price I am seeing for the buffett style dinner indicates and how much food I will need (in buffett style) for a reception of 100 guests?

Thanks for any tips and opinions on this!

Re: Cost of buffet dinner

  • edited July 2012
    That is likely a per person total.  I've never heard of caterers doing buffet pricing any other way.  106 per person makes sense. How much was the plated meal per person? I will say that 106 seems pretty steep. 
  • Oh wow I didn't even consider that possibly being a per person cost. Their plated meals go from 90 to 110 per person, so I guess their catering tends to be more expensive then others. Not saving much by buffet through that location then. Thanks for the input!
  • Lol. No problem. I mean, we had a buffet/station style reception and it was over 100 a person, but the options were pretty upscale. Just make sure you're not getting ripped off paying 100 a person for chicken, lasagna, potato, green beans, and salad, KWIM?  That sort of buffet shouldn't run you over 50 a person.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    The only thing you have to think of is with a buffet your guests get more options then just the one plated meal that you choose.  And the reason it is more expensive then the plated meal is because more food has to be prepared and ordered.

    So you have to weigh your options...either pay more per-person for a buffet that has more options or pay less per person for a plated dinner but no options.

    But I do have to agree with NOLA that you have to look at the type of food that is being served in the buffet package, because if it is simple food then $106 per person is crazy!

    IMO, depending on the type of wedding you are having, I would rather pay the extra
    $16/person so that my guests have an option of what to eat then picking one entree that some guests may or may not like (I have been to those types of weddings and it sucked hating my dinner).

  • We did stations at our wedding which were more upscale than a standard buffet, and it was the same cost as the plated dinner. We chose the stations instead of the plated dinner so that our guests would have more options and have the ability to go back up for more. H is always starving when we leave weddings that had a plated meal, and makes us hit up the drive thru, but not after buffet or stations weddings.

    We had 4 stations: a carving station with prime rib, ham, and turkey, a pasta station, a summer grille station, and a tuscan station. There was plenty of variety and plenty of food so no one went hungry. I saw several guests go back up for 2nds and 3rds!

    Please be advised, that the buffet/stations cost is not always cheaper than a plated dinner. The chefs have to prepare a lot more food for buffets and stations so sometimes the cost is the same, or even more.
  • At many locations, buffets and plated dinners tend to be about equal in price. Plated dinners have more exact portions, but more wait staff. Buffets have to make more food, but have less wait staff. That said, my parents had a buffet when they got married because it was cheaper (they put the savings into a live band). I had a plated dinner because I think it feels more upscale and the timing is more precise.

    Also, we paid over $100/person, but that included alcohol, room rental, linens, tables, chairs, service and gratuity in addition to food. BUT I've heard of people paying much more as well. If you're willing to pay it and it fits into your budget and you think it's a good deal, don't worry about whether or not other people think it's expensive.
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  • Thank you all for your input and for your personal experiences. I truly have learned a lot from this post and can understand catering brochures a lot more now. THANKS! Smile
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