Staffing Guidelines

If you want to estimate the number of staff you will need for your event, then you can use our staffing calculator. You enter a few pieces of information, and it will tell you a rough number. Of course, it’s not possible to know for sure how many staff people you will need without actually having a discussion, but the calculator lets you plan and budget.

Staffing Calculator

Event Staffing Guidelines
Traypass Service

If you’re serving hors d’oeuvres, you’ll need at least 1 staffer to do the prep in the kitchen and 1 server per 25 guests. Usually, it’s best to hire an additional staff person if you think more guests will show up than you plan, particularly if you suspect crashers. Remember, you want your event to go as smoothly as possible.

Buffet Style

You might not think that you need much staff to run a buffet station, but you’d be surprised at how many people are necessary to make it work. You need runners to restock empty trays, refill plates, and monitor chafing dishes to make sure they are always full, and heat is ON. If you plan to service guests directly from buffet, then you need extra staff to maintain the equipment. A good rule of thumb is to plan for 1 server for every 3 chafing dishes.

For big events where 6 or more staff are needed, you must have a captain to act as staff manager. Our staff members are well-trained and professional, but when someone is “in the thick of it,” it’s not usually possible to see the bigger picture. Therefore, an experienced captain is essential to the success of your event.

Should you have tables for seating, the floor staff will be required as well, as 1 busser for 2 tables (up to 24 guests) when you use chinaware. If using plasticware, then 1 busser can accommodate 3 tables.

Sit Down Dinner

The absolute minimum for such a service is 1 server per table up to 12 seats. In some cases, additional staff would be required. That is also just for the food. You will need additional wait staff for water, juice, or soda, depending on the level of service (STANDARD VS VIP). There are three methods of serving a sit-down dinner:

1. Family Style
This is where the staff bring large platters of prepared food, and the guests do the, “Please pass the peas,” thing with the various trays.

2. Plated Meal
This is where the kitchen staff prepares the plates in full before service. The wait staff bring the finished plates to the tables. Generally, what’s on the plate is what the guests get, with the exception of bread baskets or similar items. If there is a choice of entrees, the wait staff will take the guests’ orders prior to bringing the meal.

3. French Service
With this kind of service, the wait staff will bring a rolling cart to the table for the guests to inspect. The platters on this table will contain the food to be prepared. If the rolling cart passes muster, the dishes are then prepared and served.

Bar Service

The personnel you need will depend on the amount of kind of drinks you plan to serve. Bartenders can make simple cocktails whereas mixologists will be required if you plan to serve custom cocktails or other complicated drinks. You will need 1 bartender or mixologist and 1 barback per 50 guests. If you have specific other needs, you may need more staff.

Barbacks are not an option. Bartenders cannot leave their stations during service, so the barbacks are the ones who have to clean bar and restock the glasses for service. Barbacks also wash and rinse the glasses when you run out of glasses. No one notices these workers, unless they’re not there. Be safe and have as many on hand as you need to keep the flow of drinks hassle-free. 

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