What would events be without food? Aside from keeping your guests from getting hunger pangs, it’s also a welcome distraction. Once they’re full, they can go back to concentrating on the rest of your program.

Budget concerns, however, can often dictate the type of food you can you serve. That doesn’t mean you should feed your guests a bad meal. With some smart choices, you can make sure everyone’s fed without spending too much. Here are 6 ways you can stretch your food budget.

Buffet Food

Food Budget Trick #1: Check If Your Chosen Venue Already Has a Catering Option

Some venues have package deals where you can book an area that comes with a catering service. While it might cost more at first glance, not having to worry about utensils, plates, and having enough food for your targeted guests may well be worth the expense. Usually, they also have set menus that suit different kinds of events. You can always opt for lighter fare that’s usually cheaper.

A La Carte Food

Food Budget Trick #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Go A La Carte

If your guest list isn’t that many, order individual meals instead. Usual options include having a meat or fish dish. Add a vegetarian option just in case. You can also pick which drinks your guests can choose from. By limiting choices, you can then roughly calculate how much you’ll end up spending and slot it easily into your budget.

Salad Bar

Food Budget Trick #3: If You’re Doing a DIY Menu, Opt For a Salad Bar In Place of Appetizers

A bunch of vegetables won’t cost you much and there’s no cooking involved, says Chef Ed Bugia, owner of Pino and Pipino restaurants and part owner of the Backyard Kitchen+Brew chain. Another upside: veggies are high in fiber and water—which easily helps keep your guests full.

Grill Food

Food Budget Trick #4: Pick an Economical Theme

Of course, it depends on the type of event you’re mounting, as well as the number of your guests—but why offer a street food-themed menu? Whip up some chicken-, fish-, and squidballs, plus a kikikam, hotdog, and kwek-kwek selection, and you’ve got a cost-effective menu for your cocktail event that almost everyone will love.

Steaks

Food Budget Trick #5: Opt For Heavy Dishes

While finger food or hor d’oeuvres can serve many, it’s not very cost effective. “Caterers literally count what they’ll serve, they won’t give you too much, and usually, they use leftover cuts of meat from other dishes,” says Bugia. Instead, choose to serve hearty dishes like pasta or roasts which are more filling and can also be purchased in bulk.

Dessert

Food Budget Trick #6: Be Smart With Dessert

A chocolate fondue might look impressive…but remember, it’s also expensive. Instead, keep things interesting and fun, even on a budget, by bringing in a sorbetero with his cart, suggests Bugia. It won’t cost you much and you know that there will be enough sorbetes for everyone. Win-win!

Need help budgeting your event? Contact our specialists to find out how we can help you out!