How Much Caterers Actually Charge for Events in 2020


When considering hiring a caterer for an event there’s a lot to consider. What will they serve? Will they be available during that time? Who should I hire? But the biggest discerning factor for whether or not to hire a caterer, is the price!

Caterers charge a population charge, that can range anywhere between $10 to $30 per person at your event. Caterers also charge a base pay that averages between $18 and $25 dollars an hour. Additional charges for items such as plates, linens, or special dishes may also apply depending on the company.

While this is general pricing, it often varies. Some event venues have on-site caterers that are a less extensive charge, and others are incredibly pricey. It boils down to what kind of experience you want.

Hourly Charges

A base hourly charge is one of the cheaper expenses in the catering process. As it’s a base hourly charge, depending on how long your event lasts, this can be cheaper or on the pricier side. It all ends up being based on how long you need their services. Top-end caterers make $25 per hour while those just starting out typically make about $8.72 per hour. The average hourly rate is highest in New York and California, at $17.46 and $17.41.

This is all not including things like set up and take down, which can be an additional charge, or planning hourly charges as well.

Head Charges

Charges also come from how many people are going to be eating. This often ties into how much the caterer needs to make. If you’re looking to have an appetizer, entree, and dessert served at your event then your caterer is going to need to know just how much to prepare and how many people to expect. Often, caterers will make a few extra plates in case of things like unexpected guests, or spillage, but often caterers advise you to stick with the number of people you had given them. in order to avoid people not being served.

They also take into account if you’re serving more than one entree option. If this is the case you’re going to pay for entrees even if they’re not eaten. The more food you’re serving, the more you’re going to be paying. Most caterers have a set bundle price, for appetizers, entrees, and a dessert, however, it’s still going to be a bit more than if you’re wanting to just serve one type of entree.

On average catering companies can charge $10-$30 dollars a head depending on their price range. This is often not including dishware, or the actual meals themselves. Due to the extensiveness of catering, and having individual food served, most people opt for buffet style meals that are typically cheaper, however there is still typically a head count charge.

Extra Charges

Extra charges would include things like set up and take down, linens and cutlery, plates and glasses, and transportation. Set up and take down, and transportation, may both be included with hourly charges but that isn’t always the case. Some catering companies require you to have your space set up and ready for their serving dishes. Some will bring their own large tables. It depends on the company.

Thinks like linens, cutlery, plates, and glasses, however, are frequently an extra charge. If you’re looking to be served on nice glassware, then you’re going to pay more as opposed to plastic disposable dish-ware. Some catering companies even require you to provide your own for some events. These smaller charges can add up when it comes to catering your event, and are something to keep into consideration.

We called and asked two different catering companies in Idaho Falls, Idaho, how much they would charge for a dinner of 50 people. These are their results.

Timeline Charges

On top of all of that, charges for when you’re going to have your event are also in consideration. If you’re having your event on a typical weekday, it’s going to be cheaper than if you’re planning on having it anywhere between Friday and Sunday. This is because of the high demand for weekend events, and caterers need to charge more for if they’re going to be doing a weekend gig. This also makes them a bit harder to schedule. Its recommended that you hire a caterer at the least a month before your event, if not more. If you hire too close to your event, your caterer may charge more than if you were to schedule with an abundant amount of time between your initial meeting and your event.

Classic Catering

Classic Catering resides within Idaho Falls. It offers services for weddings, business events, luncheons, and other general events.

Their menu is unique, offering 11 different menus that each come with an entree, vegetable of choice, dinner roll, salad, dessert, and beverage in each menu. Having these bundles is great for pricing and a cheaper option.

They also offer several items for rent, as separate charges, for your event. Including linens, tables, chairs, and various wedding supplies and decor. This is incredibly beneficial for if you’re looking for one place to receive all of your extra needs instead of hiring different companies.

Billman’s Catering

Billman’s is an Idaho Falls catering company that serves through Ammon, Salt Lake City, Rexburg, Twin Falls, and Island Park. It offers services for weddings, corporate events, and other general catering. They also offer indoor and outdoor events.

They offer 14 entrees, 8 appetizers, 9 desserts, and two types of beverages. They also offer a breakfast menu, and custom menus, upon request.

To hire Billman’s for a dinner of 50 the cost depends. Their entrees run between 7.95 and 24.95 a person. Along with appetizers running between $1/50 and $3.00 a person, with each appetizer dish serving 20 person minimum. Your base pay may vary, depending on the hours you’re needing them to cater.


Catering can be expensive, however often you are receiving your money’s worth. Most catering companies give great experiences, great food, and are a huge people pleaser. Catering is a great idea for an event, especially to avoid the tumultuous task of having to prepare food yourself!

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of CookForFolks.com, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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