low cost - high volume catering

Joined Jul 18, 2002
Hi there folks -

Could use some help with ideas for a large event. Of course the proposal is due tomorrow afternoon.

This time it is a holiday party for 600 plus city employees
very low budget - around $20 per head for everything. Think diversity and ease of preparation and service.

they want:
hors d'ouerves (probably both passed and stationary)

main course
6:30 -8


here's some of the things we were considering (this is brainstorming - would not include everything of course)
what do you think - what has your experience been. It is being held in a very large conference area so space is not an issue. How do you suggest setting up?

Hor D’Ouerve
Assorted Domestic and Imported Cheeses, Fresh Fruit and Crudite Vegetable Station
Ethnic Breads and Spreads
Baba Ganoush
Black Bean Dip
Black and Gold Tortilla Chips
European Crackers

Nacho station
Tortilla chips
Cheese sauce
Sour cream
Pickled jalapenos

Italian Station
Mini Meatballs in Sauce
Tortellini in Vodka Sauce
Baked Ziti
Antipasto Spread
Grilled Vegetable
Sausage and Peppers
Chicken Marsala
**Michaelangelo Pasta
with Roasted Tomatoes, Smoked Mozzarella and Roasted Garlic
Served Hot
**Tortellini Verde
Four Cheese Tortellini in a Pesto Cream Sauce
Served Hot

Passed h-d
** Sassy Shrimp Tartlets
Mini Shrimp, Spinach and Feta Tartlets

**Lotus Cups
Thai Chicken Satay in Crispy Lotus Cups

**Martini Olives
Vermouth and Vodka Soaked Giant Olives Encircled in Flaky Puff Pastry

**Mushroom Truffle Risotto Bytes
Luxurious Flavors in a Crisp Phyllo Flower

** Golden Triangles
Indian Spiced Potato & Veggie Triangles with Cilantro Coconut Dip

** Tiger Shrimp Cocktail
Tiger Shrimp Passed Floating on Cocktail Sauce

Main Course Stations

Asian Station
**Auntie Dai’s Dumplings
Asian Dumplings with Wasabi- Soy Sauce
Served Hot
**Spring Rolls
**cold sesame noodles
**broccoli in garlic sauce
**Mao Chicken in orange sauce
**Vegetable Fried Rice
**Steamed Pork Buns
**Chinese Mandarin Chicken Salad

Down Home Harvest Station
Roast Turkey – sliced and carved at station
Spiral Ham
Ranchhand BBQ Beef
Tex Mex Macaroni and Cheese
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Cowboy Caviar Bean Salad
Confetti Coleslaw
Rosie’s Potato Salad

Mashed Potato Station (ala shroomgirls recent proposal)
Mash potato
caramelized onions
sour cream
blue cheese
bacon bits
Belgian beef and ale
sauteed mushrooms
tomatoes with herbs

**Miami Vice Meatballs
Miniature Meatballs in Orange BBQ Sauce
Served Hot

**Caribbean Critters
Coconut Island Spiced Boneless Chicken Satay
Served Hot on a Bed of Julienned Carrots

**Bow Thai Salmon Wreath
Teriyaki Grilled Salmon, Bow Tie Pasta, Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Babbles
Arranged in a Holiday Wreath

**Capri Chicken Roulade
Roulade of Chicken Breast, Spinach and Mushrooms Served Over Rice
**Med Rim Dolmatis
Grape Leaves Stuffed with Aromatic Rice

**Gourmet Goodies Dessert Bar
Chocolate Drizzled Cream Puffs
Nut and Fruit Filled Rugelach
Assorted Holiday Cookies
Assorted Cakes and Pies
Joined Sep 25, 2000
Wow! Sounds good to me. Is this "make a space" or will you have access to the kitchen? If it's make a space than leave as much hot foods as possible. that way you can aleaveate your overhead by cutting rental cost.
Joined Jul 18, 2002
There is no kitchen - but we have a full 27 foot mobile kitchen- so should help tremendously. Still I agree to keep as much as possible room temp or bulk chafing - especially in the hors d'oeurves section.

I need to par this menu down - it's really too much.

Any thoughts on which items should go or other suggestions you have done that are easy but effective.

And I need to figure out how to execute properly and staffing needed without blowing the budget.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Hmmmm, This isn't a knock on city employees, but - what is their palate sophistication? I'd knock off some of the more 'exotic' things, and maybe pare down the # of items in the stations.

Whew! Sounds massive!
Joined Jul 18, 2002
Totally agree with your take via "city employees" however as always how do we make ourselves stand out from other bids. So I always like to throw a few interesting off beat items in. I have found it effective with groups like this. I had a retirement party for transit workers where the woman ordering liked some of the different offerings but ending up going the traditional route - basically it got her attention.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback - I have definitely eliminated many items - and some are "garnish" too so to speak.

We combed over the choices and picked ones that are easiest to execute for that type of event. Plus of course supplemented with stuff like sally sherman... this is not haute cuisine for sure...

Now let's see if we get the bid...
Joined Nov 12, 2002
That’s an incredible menu!!

Although for that kind of money I think you would be prudent to scale it back, when you think of all those selections, to compute the usage of each item will be a nightmare.

When money is tight and the budget doesn’t support that broad of a menu, I like to offer fewer items this will help in assuring that you have enough of each food group to go around.

You have some awesome selections and with any of them you cant go wrong!! (just a few less)

Joined Jul 18, 2002
The final proposal was scaled down - but we still haven't heard back about the bid. Que sera sera

Meanwhile busy busy -both working on jobs and proposals. Tis the season to make money....
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I've got one for $20 next Sept. for 350.....simple/local food
black beans and corn or rice salad
green salad
cash bar/rentals ontop

All local good ingrediants I don't need to monkey around too much with.....

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