Totally Analytics

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What does it cost to cater an event? A simple question…but a complicated answer.


For a catered banquet, the meal cost alone can vary from $10-33 per person depending on what is served. That part is easy. But, there are many more things that are part of an event that are typically part of the caterer’s service, and how these are handled has an impact on the overall event cost as each is priced separately. Here is a list of the big items:

  • Non-alcoholic Beverages
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Desserts
  • Equipment (assuming it’s a buffet, there is equipment involved...and a beverage station requires equipment too)
  • Serviceware...disposable or china
  • Linens
  • Staff...dining room and equipment setup; food and beverage service; cleanup
  • Tax
  • Gratuities

Last year Blue Moon Caterers produced full-service banquets that ranged from $13 to $110 per guest (not counting bar), and most tended to be around $20-25 per person…but again, it can vary widely. As an example, this past year we produced two separate banquets for 150 people at the same venue. One was quoted at $2300...and the other at $6300.

Without planning the major elements of a catered event, it’s difficult to zero in on a close cost estimate. The normal process most clients go through is to spend a little time with us (over the phone is OK) making decisions on how to handle these elements listed above. With those decisions made, we can develop a precise quotation.


The term “Heavy Hors d’oeuvres” is defined as enough food to substitute for a meal. As a general rule, serving heavy hors d’oeuvres costs more than serving a meal (this presumes items of comparable quality). Hors d’oeuvres tend to feature more expensive products like meats and cheeses, plus there is typically a lot of detailed handwork in producing the items. So the decision to serve heavy hors d’oeuvres is not one driven by economics, but rather the style or goals of the event.

The other costs associated with an hors d’oeuvres event (beverages, service, etc.) are similar to a banquet.

Blue Moon Caterers Sales and Administrative Office: 316.612.4694 | 8406 West Central, Wichita KS 67212 |