Inexpensive catering menu Ideas

Inexpensive catering menu Ideas In 2023

It’s understandable that planning a large event can be stressful. We’ve all experienced a stressful event, whether it was a wedding or if it was a large corporate luncheon, holiday party, etc. The usual considerations, such as the guest list and venue, are also important. You’ll need to take into consideration the food preferences of your guests, as well as allergies and dietary restrictions.

You don’t want your budget to be blown by buying too much food, or choosing the most expensive options. Never fear! With cheap catering, you can still host the best event of the year. Just because they are cheaper doesn’t make them any less delicious. Here are our best inexpensive catering menu ideas and some tips to help you stick to your catering budget.

General Tips on catering on a budget

Here are some inexpensive catering menu ideas that can be both delicious and budget-friendly:

  1. Choose Buffet Style

A buffet is usually cheaper than a plated meal. Buffets are a great way to keep costs down and give guests a wide variety of food options. Picky eaters or those with allergies or dietary restrictions will enjoy the ability to select exactly what they desire.

Buffets encourage guests to socialize and interact, so you can avoid hiring servers to serve your event. The guests can then help themselves to as much food as they like.

  1. Choose Cheaper Alternatives  

You can serve delicious food to your guests without having to serve expensive filet mignon. Beef, chicken and shrimp are all cheaper protein options. They are also just as delicious as expensive steaks. Adding vegetarian options to your menu will appeal to a wider audience and help you keep costs down.

  1. Control the duration of an event

Catering businesses may charge per hour, particularly if servers are involved. It’s important to keep an eye on the time and determine how long your event will be. You can reduce the cost of a four-hour lunch by reducing it to two hours. Talk to your caterer about your wedding plans so you don’t have to pay for time that has passed after the guests are done eating.

  1. Consider the Time of Day

The time of day is also important when catering for large groups. You may find that the dinner menus are more expensive than those of your daytime caterer. In general, breakfast and lunch are cheaper than dinner. These lighter fares and finger foods are also more affordable than full-course meals. They’re perfect for happy hours. Many caterers offer seasonal menus that may contain more affordable items in season.

Delicious and cost-effective, these inexpensive catering menu ideas are perfect for any event.

Budget friendly ideas for Cateriing

Even affordable meals can be just as impressive as more expensive options. A few inexpensive catering menu ideas that are both delicious and affordable are as follows:

  1. Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast food is usually cheaper than dinner. Catering a party that includes a yogurt bar, fresh fruit, and a breakfast spread can help you save money compared to serving a steak dinner with shrimp. A “breakfast-for-lunch” or “breakfast-for dinner” theme is a great way to make your event unique and get people involved. People will talk about a corporate event where everyone is eating scrambled egg and cheesy waffles, or a wedding that has waffles as the main course.

  1. Brunch

Brunch is a great compromise if a full breakfast does not seem to fit the mood of your event. It will also save you money. Brunch works well for bridal showers and baby showers as well as graduation parties, birthdays, and other events. Brunch is also cheaper than serving dinner. Brunch menus are easy to make and include breakfast and lunch items that guests will enjoy. You can choose from a variety of options, including eggs, bacon, fruit and biscuits.

Brunch creates an atmosphere that is more relaxed and casual. A relaxed catering menu can encourage guests to interact and have fun with each other.

  1. Boxed lunches

Food waste is a major concern when catering an event. There’s a fine line to walk: you don’t need a lot of leftovers but also don’t wish to run out before everyone is finished eating. If you are hosting a big social event, try to avoid excessive food and opt for catering special boxed meals. This will keep your costs down and ensure that every guest receives a tasty meal. Boxed lunches can be used for special events or work meetings where employees will enjoy eating together.

It is one of the most affordable lunch catering ideas, because it allows for personalization. You can offer a small menu to each person or let them mix and match different items. Your guests can select from a variety of entrees to suit their taste and dietary requirements. If they are vegetarian, they could choose between a classic turkey and avocado BLT sandwich or a spinach and avocado cheddar sandwich. This eliminates food waste and allows everyone to select from a few items.

  1. Classic BBQ

Who doesn’t enjoy a good BBQ? Catering Southern-inspired dishes can add a personal touch to any event. This menu could be ideal for a backyard wedding or a family reunion during the holidays. Southern BBQ includes:

  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Beef Brisket
  • BBQ chicken
  • Baked Ham
  • Green beans
  • Cornbread
  • Bread rolls
  • Salads
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Strawberry Shortcake

Find a caterer who offers BBQ options, and work with him to create the menu that best suits your needs. This option will not only be cheaper but also leave your guests satisfied.

  1. Build Your Own Soup and Salad bar

A soup and salad bar, similar to a traditional buffet, is one of most cost-effective catering options. Meats and specialty items are usually more expensive. You can avoid overspending by sticking to simple foods such as salad and soup. You can offer your guests a variety of classic soups such as:

  • Chicken tortilla
  • Chicken noodles
  • Broccoli cheddar
  • Tomato bisque
  • Vegetable soup

Then, they are able to create their own salad from a menu. This catering option is ideal for business meetings or lunches that are shorter or outside the regular mealtimes. The build-your-own-menu allows guests to choose exactly what they want and need without having to eat a full three-course meal.

These inexpensive catering menu ideas are both tasty and cost-effective.

Catering your next budget friendly event with lava


In conclusion, creating an inexpensive catering menu doesn’t mean compromising on flavor or variety. By strategically selecting budget-friendly ingredients, exploring creative presentation, and focusing on efficient preparation methods, you can offer a diverse and satisfying culinary experience without breaking the bank. Whether it’s for a casual gathering or a larger event, thoughtful menu planning and attention to detail can make affordable catering both cost-effective and enjoyable for all.

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