The Ultimate Guide About Catering Prices in 2023

Man Planning Catering Food Event
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When it comes to catering services, one of the most important aspects that help potential customers make the decision whether that is something that they want and can do at their event is the pricing. It can also affect what kind of catering service they will decide on, as those vary in price between each other.

It’s no secret that the prices of everything, including catering services prices, change year to year, which is why it’s important that you have access to up-to-date and accurate information regarding this matter so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

That’s why, in this article, we will take a look at the catering prices in 2023.

Catering Cost

There are two main things that affect the answer to the question of “What is the average cost per person for catering?” – the number of guests and the type of catering you wish to have. A full-service catering will be more expensive than, let’s say, mobile catering.

Of course, there are other factors as well that affect the catering costs, such as the date and time of your function (for example, it might be more expensive to hire a catering service for an event happening around Christmas than it would be during the time when there’s no major holiday), whether you want alcohol involved, and more.

However, we are talking here about the average cost of caterer, so we will not be taking them into account.

Average Catering Costs Per Person Based on Catering Types

As we already mentioned, there are a few different types of catering, all of which require different levels of involvement from the catering company. This will, of course, affect the average cost per person per catering, so let’s take a look at the average catering cost based on what type of service you’re looking to have at your event.

Drop Off Catering

First, we have the drop-off style catering. This type of catering will usually work best for small events, up to 40-50 guests. As you can guess from the name, in this type of service, the catering company delivers the food, and it’s your responsibility to place them where you want them to.

Keep in mind that if you’re planning on serving hot meals, you might want to consider another catering type, as drop-off catering is usually best for sandwiches and other foods that can be left out until your guests arrive.

As for the price, the drop-off catering average cost will typically fall between $12 to $20 per person.

Buffet Style Catering

Another very popular option among event organizers, this type of catering allows you to provide your guests with a selection of different foods, allowing them to choose exactly what they want to have on their plate. Depending on how many dishes you choose, it could require quite a bit of space, so make sure to take that into account when planning out where everything is going to be.

Contrary to drop-off catering which is more suitable for cold dishes, with buffet-style catering, you can serve your guests warm food.

When it comes to how much it costs, on average, you will have to pay between $20 and $40 per person.

Mobile Catering

Mobile catering, also known as food truck catering, is an ideal solution for when you’re planning an outdoor event. A definite advantage is that it works for both small and large events – the more people, the more food trucks will be available.

Full-service Catering

Also known as sit-down service or traditional catering, full-service catering is probably what most people imagine when thinking about event catering. Your guests will be served while sitting down at a table, and they will receive all the typical courses, such as an entrée, the main course, and the dessert.

Full-service catering is usually the catering of choice for those whose event is rather formal, such as a wedding or an important business function.

When it comes to the price, the average catering fees per person amount to between $50 to $120.

Private Chef

Having a private chef or choosing a catering service that provides custom menu options might be the best idea when you’re looking to serve your guests dishes that are not typically for catering services to provide. Of course, it is also the most expensive catering option – however, if you have the funds, it might be well worth it.

The cost will vary depending on whether you want a world-renowned chef to serve your event or simply someone who will prepare the foods exactly like you want them to. Either way, you’re looking at at least $120 per person.

The Bottom Line

Catering prices can vary significantly depending on how many people you want to invite to your event, as well as what type of catering you deem best for it. Of course, there are many other things that will affect your precise catering costings, which is why going into a meeting with someone from a catering service, you should know exactly what you want for your event so that they can provide an accurate estimate.

Our article should serve you as more of a guide on the average cost of catering rather than something to stand by, as every catering service is entitled to decide how much to charge for catering, so your total cost might either be lower or higher than the average.

And with that being said, we have reached the end of our catering price guide. We hope that after reading this, you have at least a slight idea of what to expect in terms of catering food costs. We wish you luck on your event!


  • Dacia Flowers

    Dacia Flowers is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a major in Cultural Anthropology. Since graduating in 2019, she has expanded her expertise and applied her anthropological background in the practical domain. As the Administration Manager at CMJJ Gourmet since August 2022, Dacia handles crucial day-to-day operations, ensuring the warehouse's optimal functionality, timely delivery of orders, and managing invoices. Her commitment to excellence and in-depth understanding of organizational dynamics stem not just from her academic prowess but also her personal passion. Beyond her professional responsibilities, Dacia has a keen interest in reading, loves to travel, and stays active through regular exercise.

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