The biggest fear I hear from parents planning an open house BEFORE the open house: “What if I don’t have enough food?”
The biggest fear I hear from parents AFTER the open house: “What am I going to do with all these leftovers?”
I have so been there! My first child’s graduation open house is now behind me so I can speak from experience, the fear of having too little or too much food was my primary worry. As it turns out, the amount of food I had was just right. I really did use this formula to help me figure out how much food to order from the caterer and I also used it to plan the food that I was making. In the end, using this formula and having faith that it would work saved me a ton of money by preventing leftover food that I didn’t want.
This is the formula that I used:
To help you determine how much food to serve you need to determine how many people will come that are hungry. Start by reviewing your invitation list. Divide the people into one of the following lists (A or B).
Add up the number of people you can count on to come hungry (close relatives, close friends).
Add up the rest of the people and cut in half. Our logic here is that more may come but they won’t eat much.
Add A and B lists together to determine the number of people you should plan to serve.
To be fair, I actually added 20 people to my ‘guestimate’. Why? Because I just had to…I am kind of a type A personality and I don’t deal well with uncertainty so I added 20 to my total guestimate to give myself a little cushion (and calm my anxiety!). Oh how I wish I was one of those people who don’t worry about every little detail…..but, alas, I am not.
A few other tips on menu planning:
- Limit your menu to keep it simple.
- Single servings may consist of 6 oz of meat, one half cup of two side dishes and one dessert.
- A watermelon boat full of fruit can serve 75 people.
- If you offer two entree choices, only serve 60% of each entree.
- Have lots of disposable containers on hand to send leftovers home with your guests.
- Food can be left at room temperature for up to 3 hours, but must be refrigerated soon after that.
- Instead of serving one large platter that sits out for hours, it’s better to serve a smaller platter that gets refilled or replaced as the platter becomes empty.
- Serve or freeze leftovers within 48 hours.
- Have non-perishable back up items that you can bring out if you run out of your main menu items. For example: mixed nuts, chips and salsa, frozen mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, pizza, candy, cookies.
The countdown to open house season is on! Stay with Party Cafe in the coming weeks for more open house planning party tips and recipes!
Lori is a content writer for Discount Party Supplies. She is married with three kids and hosts many family gatherings and parties. In her free time, Lori enjoys taking yoga classes, and in her secret life she likes going to heavy metal concerts (but don’t tell the other soccer moms!).