18 Nov

Guest Count COUNTS!

When planning of an event first begins our event specialists always ask for an estimated guest count. We have several clients that generally know how many people they are going to expect. However, we still have many clients that also haven’t given much thought to what their guest count might be at all. Often, we are told ‘We are inviting 300.’ But did you know that typically 20-30% of invitees will respond no to an event?

Kahn’s Catering uses the estimated guest count as the guaranteed minimum meaning the lowest possible number of attendees and the one major number that all future event planning decisions will be based off of. We recommend underestimating your guest count, just a bit, but with good reason. You want this number to be as realistic to your expectation as possible so you have a true view of what potential costs will be. Leverage the 20% rule. If you invite 300, expect no less than 240 to attend.


Guest count is an incredibly important number in the event planning world. Guest count directly influences event costs. Being that you pay per person, it’s important to be accurate so you don’t go over your budget and to ensure that each and every guest is well cared for because they are accounted for.

Guest count dictates the amount of seating that will be needed, which can influence how a room is set. It dictates the number of servers and bartenders needed to make the event a success. It helps the culinary staff plan ahead to be sure there are not only enough chefs available for your event, but also helps them ensure they are giving themselves the proper amount of time to prepare for your event. Yet, most importantly, it helps determine the quantity needed for both food and beverage in order to provide enough for your guests. While we are thrilled you are inviting 300 guests, keep in mind that your number can always go up… but it can’t go down. Why? Guaranteed minimum.

Kahn’s Catering asks for a final guest count five working days prior to your event date. Getting back to the guaranteed minimum number of guests, all preparations are made based off your guaranteed minimum guest count. You don’t want to grossly underestimate this number because you may find yourself with the unanticipated expense of your additional guests whether it be from food, beverage, or linen rentals. It also always Kahn’s Catering to forecast better for preparing for events by having the right numbers.


Guaranteed minimum guest count helps you have an honest expectation of your event expenses and see the overall big picture during the planning process. It also allows our head chefs to plan ahead by anticipating how many guests to prepare for, how much they need to prepare, along with how much of each ingredient will be needed. Timely prep from our kitchen means a well-executed event for you. Ultimately, it helps ensure that enough food and beverage will be available. Your final guest count, the final total number of guests attending, allows the culinary team to determine if they need to purchase more or prepare more if your guest count increases. While we understand there are times that your guest count may drop below your guaranteed minimum, we will always prepare for the guaranteed minimum – no matter the circumstance. It helps eliminate surprises.


Additionally, we include a ‘buffer’ in our preparations to slightly over prepare by 3% to ensure that no matter what you will have the perfect amount of food and beverage while minimizing our waste footprint. This 3% overage usually equates to just a few extra meals in the event a meal is dropped prior to serving or if a person shows up unexpectedly whom didn’t RSVP – which we hope you don’t have to deal with the stress of occurring.

When you are planning any type of catered event, whether professional or personal, you rely on the expertise of your caterer to help you design the perfect menu. But there is more to a catered menu than simply choosing the right entrees and desserts. Your caterer is not only tasked with preparing your selections, but understanding and knowing the correct amount to prepare. It’s a bit of a science based on years of experience that helps us prepare enough for your event while minimizing waste because of the planning measures we take. Even though we handle the overall total amount of food that will be necessary, you still have a part to play in managing your guest list and your guest RSVPs.

Accurate guest counts are crucial for success. Don’t rely on an overage buffer to cover guests you may not have included in your count and don’t be afraid to call someone who hasn’t RSVP’d for their response. Always remember, guest count matters!

If you like this, you'll love these: