How to Cater for 100 Guests on a Budget in the UK

Catering for a large group of people, such as 100 guests, can be a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget. This is a common challenge faced by many businesses and individuals in the UK, where the cost of food and services can quickly add up. This article aims to provide practical tips and advice on how to cater for 100 guests on a budget in the UK, without compromising on the quality and satisfaction of your guests.

Choose a Simple Menu

When catering for a large group, simplicity is key. Choose dishes that are easy to prepare in large quantities, and that don’t require expensive ingredients. For example, a pasta dish with a simple sauce can be a cost-effective option that is also easy to scale up.

Use Seasonal Ingredients

Seasonal ingredients are often cheaper and fresher than out-of-season ones. They also add a touch of local flavour to your menu, which your guests will appreciate. Check out local farmers’ markets or wholesale suppliers for the best deals on seasonal produce.

Cook in Bulk

Cooking in bulk is a great way to save both time and money. Dishes like casseroles, stews, and curries can be made in large quantities and are often more flavourful the next day. You can also consider dishes that can be served family-style, like large platters of roasted vegetables or big bowls of salad.

Delegate Tasks

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Enlist the help of friends or family members to help with tasks like setting up, serving food, and cleaning up afterwards. This not only saves you time but also allows you to focus on other important aspects of the event, like entertaining your guests.

Shop Around for the Best Deals

Don’t just buy from the first supplier you find. Take the time to shop around and compare prices from different suppliers. You might be surprised at how much you can save by doing a little bit of research.

Consider DIY Catering

If you have the time and the skills, consider doing the catering yourself. This can be a great way to save money, as you can control the cost of ingredients and avoid paying for professional catering services. Just make sure you plan everything in advance to avoid last-minute stress.

Figuring Out How Much to Serve: An Easy Guide

When catering for a large group, it’s crucial to get the portion sizes right. Too little, and your guests might go home hungry. Too much, and you could end up with a lot of wasted food. Here’s a simple guide to help you figure out how much to serve:

Main Dishes

For main dishes like pasta or stew, aim for about 200-250g per person. This should be enough to fill your guests up without leaving too much leftover.

Side Dishes

Side dishes should be smaller portions, around 75-100g per person. This includes things like salads, vegetables, and bread.


Desserts can be tricky, as people’s sweet tooth can vary. As a general rule, aim for about 100-150g per person.

Quick Look at Food Portions

Understanding food portions can help you plan your menu more effectively and avoid waste. Here’s a quick look at typical food portions:


For meat-based main dishes, aim for about 100-150g of meat per person.


A serving of vegetables is typically around 75-100g. This can vary depending on the type of vegetable and how it’s prepared.


For grains like rice or pasta, a serving is usually around 50-75g (uncooked weight).

Best Ways to Save Money on Events

Catering for a large event can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to cut costs without compromising on quality. Here are some top tips:

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can often save you money, especially for staple items like rice, pasta, and canned goods.

Shop Around

Don’t just stick to one supplier. Shop around to find the best deals.

Use Seasonal Ingredients

Seasonal ingredients are often cheaper and fresher than out-of-season ones.

Tasty Food Options That Are Easy on the Wallet

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. Here are some budget-friendly food options that still deliver on flavour:

Pasta dishes:

Pasta is a versatile and affordable ingredient that can be used to create a variety of delicious dishes. For example, you could make a simple pasta salad with canned tuna, chopped vegetables, and a vinaigrette dressing. Or, you could make a more elaborate pasta dish like spaghetti bolognese or lasagna.


Soup is another great option for budget-friendly catering. You can make a big pot of soup ahead of time and reheat it on the day of the event. Soup is also a good way to use up leftover vegetables and meat.


Sandwiches are a classic and easy way to feed a crowd. You can make a variety of sandwiches, such as ham and cheese, chicken salad, or tuna salad. You could also make wraps or pita pockets.


Pizza is a popular choice for catering events, and it can be relatively affordable. You can make your own pizzas at home or order them from a local pizzeria.

Finger foods:

Finger foods are a good option for catering events because they’re easy to eat and don’t require utensils. Some popular finger foods include cheese and crackers, veggie sticks, and mini sandwiches.


Dessert is a must-have for any catering event. Some popular budget-friendly desserts include fruit salad, ice cream, and cookies.

These are just a few ideas for tasty food options that are easy on the wallet. With a little creativity, you can easily create a delicious and affordable catering menu for your next event.

Ask for Discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts, especially when buying in bulk. Many suppliers offer discounts for large orders, so it’s always worth asking.

Offer a BYOB Option

Alcohol can be one of the most expensive parts of catering an event. To help cut costs, consider offering a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) option. This allows your guests to bring their own alcohol, saving you the cost of providing it.


Catering for 100 guests on a budget in the UK is certainly a challenge, but with careful planning and smart choices, it’s definitely achievable. Remember to keep things simple, take advantage of seasonal produce, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And most importantly, remember to enjoy the event yourself! If you have any questions or need more advice, feel free to contact us.

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