How Many Catering Staff Do I Need?

August 20, 2019
Hiring the right amount of staff is the key to a successful event - here's how to avoid understaffing or overstaffing your events.

Determining the number of staff you need for an event can determine its success.

You can find yourself asking this question whether you're preparing for a banquet hall feast, a wedding, a promotional event or your neighbor's Bat Mitzvah.

The numbers are obviously individual to each catering business. It all comes down to your business' budget, the type of event, the style of the venue and the quality of your staff.

You definitely don't want to be understaffed.

Seems like there can be nothing worse (short of all the food going up in flames.) Not only will the execution and service be poor and inefficient, but you'll be facing some pretty frustrated clients afterwards....

How bad can overstaffing be?

So worst comes to worst, we won't hit the exact target number and we'll end up with some more staff than we need, right? Wrong. The cost of labor is so staggering that you may end up finishing your event with more costs than profit if you don't calculate correctly.

The unofficial guide to hiring catering staff.

There must be some sort of Council of Event Catering to give businesses a better direction.

Well, although there is no written guidebook, the catering companies using Ubeya to manage their staff show a clear rule of thumb when it comes to hiring catering staff.

Catering businesses use Ubeya to book an average of 1 server per every 32 guests at a catering event, no matter the style of service or the menu.

In more intimate and exceptional events, catering companies have hired 1 server per every 6 guests. Businesses that are trying to minimize their labor costs without damaging their service have hired 1 server per every 40 guests (at the employer's discretion in each of these cases.)

What about other types of staff jobs you find at catering events?

Each event is different. We know that you're hiring different positions based on what your event entails.

You can hire a drink pourer that accompanies the server and assists every 20 guests with water and wine. You can place one attendant behind every food station, if you'll be doing that at your event.

Most events managed through Ubeya have shown catering companies hiring 1 busboy or girl for every 3 servers they booked. In specific cases of exceptional or VIP service, you can decrease that ratio (1 bus-person for every 2 servers) but don't forget that servers generally assist with some bus work during catering events.

For bartenders, caterers hire 1 bartender for every 50 guests. They also use Ubeya's platform to fix different salaries and shift hours for these different positions - don't forget to take that into consideration!

How do I manage the schedules, shifts and pay for my catering staff?

Now that you've determined the number of catering staff you need for your next event, you need to find them, hire them, train them, schedule them, and when all ends well, pay them.

In order to keep track of how many employees you still need to book, how much busboys are available, and which bartenders are taking which shift, catering companies are using an all in one staff management solution to always be on top of the event and never lose a dime on labor costs again.

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