What Is the Average Cost of Catering?

According to CostHelper, a catered meal at an inexpensive restaurant may cost as little as $20 per person, while the catering cost at a fancy hotel or restaurant may cost between $125 and $350 per person. An hors d'oeuvres reception can cost between $30 and $70, depending on the bar options.

According to The Bridal Association of America, the average costs for catering in 2006 were $2,826 for the bar, $9,421 for the food and $543 for the cake, including the cake-cutting fee. Assuming a wedding with 150 guests, these costs average out to $85 per person. According to CostHelper, additional fees related to catering expenses may include a gratuity, fees for extra waiters and chefs, additional labor costs for passed-around appetizers, corking fees for each bottle of wine and champagne, and rental costs for flatware and dishes.

The costs for catering should cover a tasting where the client selects the food for an event prior to finalizing the menu. The caterer is also responsible for setting up for the event, arranging for rentals for the table settings, cleaning up and returning all rentals. According to CostHelper, catering costs are highest in large cities, particularly those on the West Coast and in the Northeast.