Hot Plate: Catering on a budget

05 February 2015
Hot Plate: Catering on a budget Image : 262
Last week, Mankomo prepared a delicious meal for his cousins 21st birthday party. Have you ever tried to cater a party?

Whether you’re catering an engagement party, wedding or 21st birthday, budgets can quickly spiral out of control. So here are five tips to save money on catering.


If you decide to host a bar at your event, choose a soft bar that stocks only beer, wine and soft drinks. Perhaps consider serving a single signature cocktail such as a cosmopolitan or margarita and give it a name that suits your party, such as “Mandla’s magic mix”.
If the budget is really tight you can always opt for a cash bar, especially if you want to provide your guests with a wider choice of refreshments.

Buffet vs. plated

Check with your caterer to see if there is a big difference in price between serving plated meals and a buffet. Plated meals are generally more expensive due to preparation and serving time. While plated meals add elegance, if your event is more casual, you can save money by choosing a buffet instead.


If you are hosting your event at a venue, you can often get a discount for having your party on a week night instead of a weekend. Also consider the option of having a lunch or even breakfast event, which will cut down on the bar bill and free up your guest’s evenings for personal or family matters.

Serve appetisers

It has become popular in recent years for people to serve appetisers instead of a full meal. This is especially true of events that are more informal, such as 21st birthday parties or engagement parties. It is easier for guests to talk and mingle with a small plate of appetisers, which makes more sense than having people sit down and eat. Plus you don’t have to plan your event around a mealtime, adding some flexibility to your agenda.

DIY catering

If you have the time and a few people to pitch in and help, then baking, cooking and creating your own dishes can help save a small fortune on catering costs. This is especially true of things like soups, salads and desserts, which don’t involve long preparation times.

There are plenty of ways to cut down on your catering budget so explore your options and work closely with your caterer to make sure you are getting the best value for money.