10 Facts to Consider Before Selecting a Party Menu

Your party menu is so important because it defines the entire dining experience of your guest, therefore you can’t afford to do just anything. There are things you must know and consider before selecting the menu. To a great extent, your party becomes memorable if the menu was tasty, of good quality, quantity, presentation etc, especially if it meets the expectation of your party guests. No matter how much you spend to organize the party, if the menu is unplanned, the party mood will be adversely affected. It is therefore, necessary to consider these important factors you need to consider before deciding on your party menu. They are as follows:

Your Guests Age group

It is very necessary to know the age group of your guests so as to plan meals that are most suitable for their needs and appropriate for their age.  For example:  

  1. Children love high in carbohydrates (sugar) and oily.
  2. Teenagers favour trending and high energy meals. They eat in large in quantity too! 😉 
  3. Adults: – The adults can be further split into 2, the middle aged and the Aged.

Study has shown that from 40 years and above, meals high in cholesterol, sugar, carbonated drinks, fried meals etc should be stepped down. As a good cook, it is imperative to consider the health importance of your menu. Knowing the age group of your party guests will help you not only to choose appropriate menu but also the best cooking method as well. For example frying cooking method is not good for elderly people because of cholesterol related issues and more.

Health status of your Guests

Give serious consideration to the health status of your guests. You wouldn’t want your guests’ health worsened by what they eat in your party. How will you know this? Make enquiries from close contacts and if any take them into consideration Try to know what you  should avoid For example, diabetics patients should avoid food that are enriched with too much sugar, hypertensive guests should not take too much salt, while guests with peptic ulcers should not have very spicy foods etc.

Availability of Ingredients

part menu buffetHow readily available are the ingredients  needed for the preparation of this food included in the menu and also if they are they in season. Some menu are nice but getting the ingredient is the problem. Try to check your local markets and nearby stores to ensure that everything you need to cook the meal of choice is available before putting it in the menu list.

Cost and implication vis a vis Budget

Some menu are expensive to make because of the ingredients, labour costs and sourcing location. Ingredients may become expensive if they are out of season or are not readily available in the local markets. Shopping locations also determine how much you will part with. Going to the inter-land, bush market and supermarkets spells a wide price range, all these should be viewed strongly for effect cost management. You have to consider this cost in relation to your overall budget for the party be. If you do not carefully consider this, you may not have enough to cover the cost of other segments of the party.

Availability of production and service equipment

You should have the utensils and equipment for preparing a particular meal or drink before you include it in your party menu. For example, you should have a griller for foods that need grilling, an oven for foods that need to  be baked or roasted. Utensils for serving, preserving or eating such meals should also be available before listing them on the menu.

assorted rice as party menu
Outdoor Catering

Availability of Production and serving space

Take for example the space needed for serving a buffet with about Ten different meals. If your party venue or the size of your kitchen is not big enough to accommodate the production capacity and setting of buffet space, there will be no need of including it in your party menu. It is therefore important to give this a thought before going ahead with its choice as a party menu.

The Nationality, Tribe and Religion of your guests.

Certain foods are forbidden in some tribes and religious inclinations, while different  nationalities consume certain type of meals. E.g if some Americans are attending your party, you will have to include some continental meals or may be Indians, many of them are vegetarians etc . No matter how well prepared and garnished such foods are, the guest who forbids or are not familiar with it won’t find it appealing or eat it. It is therefore advisable to give the tribal and religious biases of your guests a thought before listing any food in your party menu. If you don’t, the whole thing may be a wasted effort. party menu

Time of the Event.

Some meals take  longer time to prepare than others. If you don’t have enough time before the commencement of the event, such meals will not be ready eventually you will end up serving it late. The sad thing is that, some of your guest might have left before is served because no guest comes to a party awaiting meals for so long. It is advisable to choose wisely after considering event time before picking your menu. It is very important to know when the event will hold and how soon you need to start preparing you meals. This will avoid unnecessary pressure and cooking mistakes. Knowing the time of the party also help you to fix certain food appropriately as breakfast, lunch and brunch and dinner menus. Light and heavy food are planned to fit into this time accordingly.

Food shelf life

Knowing how long your event will last or the time it will take between when the food is ready and the guests will be set to eat is important for foods with short lifespan. Will the food still the fresh by the time guests are ready to eat? Will the left over still be consumable by the end of the program? These are questions that must be answered. If the answers are not favourable, it is better to drop such meals from the menu rather than take unworthy risks.

Available production hands and skills.

Finally, you need to consider the expertise of the cook and the technical-know how involved. On the other hand, if you are the cook, you need to pick menu you are sure of the production process. Only include in the menu foods you know will be well prepared, well served and enjoyed by your guests. 

For further tips on how to plan your party menu, contact the Admin at Lovesgateau Catering and Training Institute.


Mrs. Love Abiola Udohfia is a graduate of Hotel and catering management. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a Masters degree in Administration and planning. She worked as a waitress, Order-taker and Chef with the former Eko Le Meridien (now Eko Hotel ), Victoria Island, Lagos and the Old Ikoyi Hotel (now Southern Sun Hotel), Ikoyi Lagos in the 1990’s. She managed the staff canteen of the defunct All States Trust Bank and Oceanic Bank, both at Ahmadu Bello way, and Diamond Bank Bukuru road, Jos between 2002-2006. She is a seasoned Chef and excellent tutor with vast cooking and catering experience that spans over two decades.