What is the Average Price Per Person for Catering?

Determining the average price per person for catering involves taking account of all the different catering styles available, before boiling them all down to find the nationwide standard per person.  Options include formal, sit down-style (coursed meals, generally), along with more straightforward options like buffet, stations or even food trucks (which are gaining ground in recent years to become increasingly popular).


Weddings are a great place to begin, when it comes to averaging out costs: the average cost of wedding catering per person will vary depending on each wedding’s service style.  For a formal, plated meal, the average American cost of wedding catering is $40 per person.  However, for a buffet, the average cost is $27 per person.


Bar service will obviously raise your total cost per person, but the amount by which it does so varies.  Some full service caterers can simply add a BYOB option onto your dinner service for around $8-$12 per person.
Corporate lunch catering often runs just a bit cheaper – averaging out to $35 a person (again, for a formal meal) and $25 for buffet.  If you have an office staff of 50, let’s say, expect to spend around $1800 on the higher end, and $1200 on the lower end.

If you want to spend less but still entertain your guests (or staff), food trucks are a great way to get the best of both worlds. You can generally expect to spend $20-$25 a person for a full-service, food truck meal, either for lunch or dinner.  The only thing worth noting about this option is often times food trucks have $1000 minimums to hit, meaning if you have an office of less than 50 people, you may have to agree to the minimum before they show up.