Looking for ways shrink those catering bills? We get it! Affordable catering services are available — and here's where to find them!

With most companies spending as much as $700 per employee every year on catering services, the cost of serving food certainly can add up.

And we don't even want to think of the unmentionable rise of cost of living happening these days...

But, don't fear! There are plenty of ways to still serve delicious food, offer a range of menu options and suit everyone's dietary requirements without needing to grossly increase costs.

Serve breakfast any time of the day

There's something that feels a little naughty about having breakfast in the PM, but we wont' tell anyone!

Breakfast foods often tend to be more affordable than lunches, too. But, in out eyes, they're just as delicious! (If not even more so 😉)

For example, we looked at a few different caterers we work with to compare costs:

A Sydney caterer that offers individually boxed meals has breakfast options for $15.95, while lunch meals are all $18.95.

Over in Perth, one of our cafe-style caterers does breakfast sandwiches on croissants that work out to just over $6 each. If you want sandwiches from the lunch menu, though, a sandwich platter would be just over $11 per person. That's almost double!

Bacon egg roll on brioche.

Binge at the buffet

We all know buying in bulk is more affordable, and buffets are no exception. There's no individual packaging costs to cover, and catering chefs can same time on preparing single item after single item.

They're also a great way to feed a hungry crowd, and feed them quickly!

A table with five bain-maries at a buffet that are full of food.

Choose more cost effective cuisines

Some cuisines are more cost effective than others, but that doesn't mean they're more or less delicious!

For example, if you're on a tight budget, opt for more affordable catering options like Indian (which also works great as a buffet, like we mentioned above!), Vietnamese (rolls can be very affordable, but a little more exotic than a standard sandwich) and Italian (sharing pizzas and pasta platters can come in at around $10-$12 per person).

A fresh pizza coming out of a wood fired pizza oven.

Keep extras to a minimum

It might be tempting to choose a corporate caterer that provides everything you need for your event, but take a moment to consider what you really need.

For example:

  • Do you really need serving staff for your next event?
  • Do you need the caterer to supply the disposable cutlery and plates, or do you have enough in your office kitchen already?
  • Do you need to buy drinks through the caterer, or can you buy them in bulk for less through out pantry service?

Get your portions right

One sure-fire way to go over your budget is over-ordering office catering. Ordering too little food can be a nightmare, but over-ordering results in food waste.

Use our handy catering guidelines to ensure you order just the right amount. If you have any questions about items that aren't listed, or need help ordering, our catering experts are here to help!

We recommend the following when ordering lunch for the office:

  • Sandwiches/wraps: 1.5 per person
  • Sandwich and finger food: 1 sandwich + 3-4 pieces of finger food per person
  • Sandwich and salad: 1 sandwich + 1 small salad cup per person
  • Pizza: 3-4 slices per person (or about one pizza for every two people)
  • Finger food: 6 pieces per person (1 hour event) or 9 pieces per person (2 hour event)
Three falafel wraps sitting on a plate.

Keep it casual

Formal catering styles will usually be more expensive than informal catering styles. Keep your costs down with a by foregoing assigned seating or waiters to bring dishes to the tables.

Plus, having an informal event usually lets people mingle and socialise a bit more.

You can even opt to go super casual with more of a party vibe by serving Mexican with DIY taco stations or try pizza catering.

Six hard-shell tacos on a blue table with a lime.

Compare your costs

If you're set on a particular cuisine, use our search filters to look at all the caterers in your area that offer it and see what their pricing is like. We do have an extensive range of catering companies and are sure you'll be able to find something that suits your budget.

Costs will be different based on a whole range of factors, but we do vet everyone on our platform and back all of the catering services we offer. We guarantee no matter who you choose, even if it is just a the cheapest catering services you could find, that it will be delicious.

A woman holding an apple in one hand and a donut in the other.

Leave the oysters and caviar behind...

We know you want to impress every guest, but unfortunately cheap catering and dishes like caviar don't go together!

Unless you're dealing with allergies or dietary requirements, try to stick to dishes that are more cost effective. For example, if you have the option opt for chicken or beef instead of seafood - it's quite often cheaper!

Looking for more ways to cut back on the cost of catering packages?

Get in touch with your account manager or our customer care team on 1300 851 900 to speak about the specific needs of your team and event. We can find cheap catering services that will work for you.

Whether you're after simple finger foods or affordable full daily meal plans for corporate events, we'll be able to find a solution that works for you and your budget.


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Written by:

SEO & Content Marketing Specialist

Spending much of the last decade juggling eating her way around the world and working within the travel and lifestyle content marketing space, Alex joined the EatFirst team in 2022. With 15 years of experience under her belt, she specialises in content strategy, SEO, writing and editing. Some of her favourite eats include Japanese, Thai and Italian, and she’s a firm believer that pineapple has no place on a pizza.

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