Do i have this 400 ppl buffet menu figured out correctly??? Need advice!!!

Joined Jul 9, 2016
Buffet for 400 (all adults - 50/50 men & women)

Servers will be available to dispense items.



Petite Tenderloin (teres Major) 6 oz. portions (figuring that everyone will eat this item)

400 x 6 = 2400 divided by 16 = 150 lbs + 15% for trimming & seconds = 170 lbs. must purchase

Salmon (fillet pinned & skinned) 4 oz. (portions (figuring 65% will eat this item)

400 x 4 = 1600 divided by 16 = 100 lbs. divided by 65% = 65 lb. mus purchase

Fried Chicken Breast (split) individual pieces (figuring 65% will eat this item)

280 units must purchase


Cold Quinoa Salad (how much should I make?)

Roasted Veggies (how much should I make?)

Spring mix Salad (How much should I make?)

Rolls & Butter

Dessert & coffee

Owner of the Beach Club is paying for the dinner as a perk to the membership so there is no real budget but, we don't want to waste $$$$

I'm not a catering chef so I could really use some guidance!!!

Thank you everyone!!!
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
This menu is heavy on protein. IMHO most guys will go for the beef and the gals will go for the chic and fish. When your doing a buffet with this many entrees you really can't look at full portions on each one. A 6oz portion of beef would be enough for a meal. Lets say the beef entree is in the first chafer. Most will take the first item and then wish they could cut a portion of the salmon in half so they can just have a small bite. Now the chicken comes up and if the portions are to big most will pass. If you think the beef is king then make the portions smaller for the chic and salmon. The salmon can also be served by a staff person so you don't have the customer hacking away at the entrees. If you have the salad first and then the starch and veggie there is only so much room on the plate so people will take less of the entree. Remember you control how much they take by controlling the size of the entree and where it's located on the buffet line. I know you said your using split breasts but you can also use chicken tenders that range about 1.5 to 2oz each..........Good luck.......Chef Bill
Joined Apr 11, 2013
I think the portions are really huge. 

Beef at 6oz. is a lot. As stated it´s almost enough for a meal. 

Generally no 1 person will eat all 3 proteins (not at those portion sizes anyway). And you really are heavy on protein in general. 

I would add some type of vegetable as a possible choice. Never know maybe you may get a vegetarian or a gluten free. 

Is everyone at this buffet a meat eater, any vegetarians, any vegans, any gluten frees, anyone with allergies??

I would say reduce the portion size, and remove one protein option and replace is for a satisfying hot vegetable option or some starch. 

IMO you all ready have 3 vegetable options (quinoa, mix spring, and roasted veggies), i think thats also overdoing it a tad. 

Quinoa may not be a crown pleaser, and it could undercook. 

I think a mix spring salad is fine, and roasting vegetables seems kind boring and one dimensional to me. 

Why not again choose one vegetable to highlight and do something clever and tasty with it. 

I noticed that there are no carbs or starches stated on the menu. 

Any sauces accompanying these proteins...??

Whats for dessert??Are you the one making it??
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Joined May 5, 2010
Steve1949, you asked about this catering 3 weeks ago and you were given some advice and numbers back then.

I remember the Salmon, Fried Chicken punctuation mistake and the thread then took a wrong turn and you never came back.

Now we are giving you more concrete answers.

As I recall you mentioned the fried chicken was going to be purchased.

Will they be pieces or breasts?

I see you decided against hanger steak.

I agree with everyone so far that your portions are too big. 

IMPO....I would make 300 4 ounce portions of the beef, 250 3 ounce portions on the fish and 200 4 ounce portions on the chicken.

You have variables at play here....

Time of day. Any kids, (they eat less) age of group, (older people eat less) outdoors or indoors (on a warm day people will eat less)

The roasted vegetables IMO sounds great.

Quinoa salad too.

I also noticed no starches. Was this something they asked not to have?

No dessert table?
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Those are good points ....

There is a lasagna thread running right now and a good veg based one can be pretty popular, not only with your specific veg people but others as well.

Holds pretty good on the buffet as long as you keep an eye on it and pull when it is starting to look dry.

If everyone has been thru the line I would stop replacing at that point and declare the dish 86'ed.

Here in Texas the good local tomatoes are finished as well as the corn and berries stopped about a month ago.

What is in season where you are?

Watermelon is always a hit and you could either work into the salad station or the dessert table (or both).

Try to replenish as the platter goes low and replace with cold slices.

Joined Oct 15, 2015
I pretty much agree with the general theme of the answers.  Just wanted to add (and answer some of your questions), that I would make 2oz of salad per person.  As mentioned earlier Quinoa isn't always a crowd pleaser, but you do want to make your salad a little heavy for the vegetarians, but not too heavy considering all the food.  Maybe something simple like feta cheese will add something to it.  And I would include a "meaty" vegetable in the roasted veggies, like eggplant.  Again, considering the vegetarians.
Joined Jul 9, 2016
Thanks everyone for all the feedback!

The guests range in age from 35 to 75 years old (no kids allowed!!!) & are split equally between men & women.

The party will be in the evening, outside on the beautiful deck of the club overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Please allow me to explain my plans for the buffet a little better.

The owner of the club's mantra is my sure everyone is happy & well fed! Hence, the three proteins (something for everyone's taste)

I switched from Hanger Steak to Teres Major (petite tenderloin) at the suggestion of my salesman,

Bought a box, trimmed a bit of the silver skin (not a lot of waste at all), coated it with EVOO & dusted it with Montreal Steak Seasoning, grill marked it on the char grill & finished in the convection oven (350 degrees for 10 min) came out medium rare. Let it rest 10 min & sliced it on the bias. Came out tender & juicy.

Will cook it a little less the night of party because it will be sitting in hot boxes for an hour before serving.

Did a test run on the Salmon today. Cut a fillet (boneless & skinless) into 2 inch wide (approx. 4 0z.) pieces. Spritzed them with lemon juice, dusted them with Cedar Plank Salmon spice (Costco product) & cooked the jn convection oven for 12 min. Came out great!

As for the Chicken, I've changed my ming & will serve garlic/lime marinated Grilled breasts accompanied by a Mango/pineapple salsa.

Quinoa was a hit last year so this year i'm going with a cold Zesty Quinoa Salad that i can make the day before, It consists of Grape Tomatoes, black beans, corn, red onion, chopped garlic, red & green peppers, cilantro & a chili/lime dressing. I was thinking that that would be considered a starch of sorts!It is also, vegan, vegetarian & gluten free.

The roasted  Veggies will consist of broccolli, cauliflower, baby carrots & sweet potatoes.

Rolls, butter & salad rounds it out.

Dessert was & will be again this year OVER THE TOP!

Four full gourmet sheet cakes & a $1.000.00 Italian cookie extravaganza. All are being purchased from outside sources.

A little word about myself & the staff. I'm a cook not a chef & my staff consists of 15 years olds who hold a broome like a lacross stick & who i wouldn't trust with a chef's knife even if it was made out of rubber!

Too boot, the snack bar/sweet shop closes at 1:00 P.M. & I have to have all this done & in the chafers by 7.

Hope I can pull this off

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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Re your 15 year old staff...

I feel for you my friend.

That age group has no concept of work faster and make more money in the allotted open hours.

Have just come home from a vaca in a town of around 1300 ppl (not a town...designated an incorporated village) and the only place with decent fresh sandwiches was the Subway located in a large convenience store lovingly referred to as "The Mall" lol.

Stood there Sunday and waited while the only kid on duty left his station to wander in the store to find the manager (how many scoops of tuna salad on a 6 in roll/ UMM 2?) and then asked me 3 times what add ons I wanted (nonenonenone).

Most of the peeps behind me left for greener pastures muttering and shaking their heads.

Same same at the movie theater (drove almost 2 hours round trip on that particular jaunt) where we stood on line for almost an hour for popcorn (had to give up my place to go watch the show and snuck out halfway thru to get snax).

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