Help!!! Hosting a Breakfast for 70-80 People First Week in May!

Updated on April 23, 2015
A.E. asks from Greenville, SC
28 answers

Hi everyone,
I am new to this but I need a little help. I am the PTA President at my kids school (this is my 1st year) and we are hosting a breakfast for teacher appreciation week May 4th-8th for the entire school staff. I was thinking of doing Muffins, 2 fruit platters and a yogurt bar with toppings with OJ and Coffee on the side. I think I got most of it planned out but I have no idea how much yogurt to buy or where to get it bulk. I can shop Costco and/or sams club but so far I haven't found anything that large. And I have no idea how much to get? Can anyone help me???
CLARIFY: I think I didn't add enough information. The PTA pays for all the food. But I do have 3 ladies coming early to help me set up. I am going to prep everything the night before. I have purchased large mason jars to put each topping into.
I can purchase fruit trays from Chick-Fil-a and that fruit can be used as toppings and then add something savory? Maybe sausage biscuits? As far as drinks we provide the Orange Juice and cups and the school provides coffee and tea. My predecessor did Chick-fil-a biscuits and Oj last year so I am trying to change it up a little. We just aren't a big enough school to get that much food donated. We are also hosting a Potato Bar that Friday so I will have a lot going on. Thank you so much for your feedback.

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answers from Harrisburg on

I can't help with how much of anything you will need, but I don't think you need a protein as many suggested.
We did this in the past at my school at most teachers grabbed a plate and then took it up to their class. So I'd make things as easy as possible. We did muffins, bagels and fruit.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I used to use my Taste of Home magazine where it had a section for food for a crowd. In the very first addition there was a graph that showed how much stuff to use for a group and when to increase portions based on what was served with it.

For instance, 1/3 lb of ham if it's a sandwich but less if the meat is part of a meal with veggies and other foods.

There are all sorts of entertaining sights that will give you similar information.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Do you have local cafe that makes quiche? That is always popular for breakfast and adds some protein to the mix.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

I would forget the yogurt bar. Too much involved. Bagels, cream cheese, muffins, bite sized pastries, fruit platters, juice coffee.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Our PTA does this as well and a volunteer list is on the website for people to sign up to bring whatever is needed... such as ...

2 fruit platters large enough to serve 15 -- 2 people sign up
1 dz assorted muffins -- 3 people sign up
3 dz bagels -- 3 people sign up
cream cheese -- and so on..
There is also a sign up for so many people to set up and so many people to clean up.

I would opt out of the yogurt option and keep it with breads, muffins, juices, maybe some people could bring breakfast casseroles, etc.

You should not be manning this on your own. Hopefully you have some sort of sign up option so you know what is coming.

Talk to the committees who did this type of thing last year as well.

Good luck

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I do special events for a living.

I was always on the staff appreciation committees at our daughters schools.i have seen how the staff and teachers eat.. Lots!

A suggestion.. No yogurt bar.. Instead purchase an assortment of small individual yogurt cups. Put them in a bowl of ice, provide plastic spoons.
Too much mess to have toppings.
I promise this will be fine.

Muffins are great, maybe mini bagels, cream cheese,
Fresh fruit salad.
Bunches of bananas! They love them. If I purchase a box of bananas at the grocery store every week. it has 40 lbs and is only $18.50!

Breakfast tacos...egg and potato. Egg and either bacon or sausage, bean and cheese. Hot sauce.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Shouldn't there be people on the PTA you can confer with and ask what happened in previous years?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

These things are always tough because you have the gluten-free, the lactose-intolerant, the diabetic and the vegan to deal with. So you need an assortment with the absolute assumption that not everyone will eat everything. So for 70 people, you don't need 70 muffins and 70 yogurts.

And you absolutely need to delegate to the rest of the PTA board and any other parents who will step up. Usually teacher appreciation is something people will volunteer for because it's a one-shot deal!

If this is a buffet with a set time vs. a "snack all day" deal, have TWO tables so there's no line! That's a key thing with buffets - the first person stops to serve herself, and the whole line waits. So let people walk down both sides of the table, or have two separate, identical tables.

I'd get a large flat foil pan (with the catering stuff at the discount store) and a bag of ice. Set the yogurts in there, organized by flavor. We do some large training breakfasts once a month, and we do a lot of vanilla yogurt in small plastic cups with some granola, oatmeal or grape nuts on top, plus a variety of fruit toppings. Someone dishes those up ahead of time, and then it's a quick "grab" going through the line rather than a "stop and put on the toppings" delay. If you want to save money, this allows you to buy the large yogurt containers and dish out small amounts. However, it's time consuming, so you weigh that against the cost. If the average yogurt cup is 6 ounces, and maybe 50 people maximum will eat it, you need 300 ounces, which is really 9 large 32 ounce containers if you're going to spoon it out. (With toppings, people eat less). We usually have two egg casseroles (9 x 12 pan) for 45 people - sometimes one is plain and another has a meat (e.g. ham).

I agree about egg casseroles, or quiches which are easy to do. You can do a plain spinach frittata (which is a quiche without the crust) which helps the gluten-free group. Our group does a crockpot full of breakfast sausages (usually the turkey for those who don't eat pork). Those are easy if you make sure the ones in the center thaw - especially for a morning program. So mix them around, or bake them in the oven and then you can keep them warm in the crockpot. Alternatively, if you have those chafing dishes that hold Sterno, you can bake the sausages in one of the large foil pans previously mentioned, and keep them warm. You can also bake in a smaller one, put an egg casserole in another small one, and set them both over hot water in a large one set into the chafing dish stand. (We have all that equipment from serving cross country team pasta dinners and so on - if you think your PTA will continue to do events, it's worth the small investment to buy these things and just re-use them every year.)

I'd get the smaller size muffins - about 50. If you're getting bagels, I'd only get 40, and pre slice them. It might be easier to get the small single-serve cream cheese things - again, the line slows down immensely for people serving out of the larger containers.

I'd make a large urn of coffee and a smaller one of decaf. You should be able to find urns to borrow, which is cheaper than getting Dunkin' Donuts to give you all those boxes of coffee. Just remember they take a while to "perk". I'd put the coffee and orange juice on a separate table because people can be getting that if there's a line at the food table, and vice versa.

Don't feel you need to put everything out at once. With 1-2 volunteers there, more stuff can be replaced as it gets eaten. So put out 18 muffins to start, then replace. Same with bagels.

It's not awful if you run out of one thing for those who come late. People expect that. It's okay if you have options.

Have a plan in place for the leftovers. The local food pantry will take unopened products and whole fruits. The local food rescue group (if you have one) collects from corporate functions and hotels, taking food to shelters. They'll take the fruit platters with cut fruit, the baked goods, and anything that's been kept over a flame or on ice if it's perishable. If you have a veterans shelter nearby, take the bagels and muffins and opened yogurt cartons there. Your local police and firefighters will enjoy a platter of goodies too. Cut the remaining egg casserole into squares and put on a paper plate for them (they'll have a microwave for individual heating up).

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do you have no one to delegate things to? I'm part of a ladies group of about 110 who meet every week. We take turns and when it's turn for my group of 10 we each take on one thing. Two people each bring a dozen bagels (we *are* in NY afterall) cut in half, someone bring cream cheese, butter & half & half for coffee, another brings fruit (sometimes we make salad, others might bring clementines, etc.) Two large containers of yogurt (grocery store large - not Costco large) is more than enough, another person might make baked french toast or crockpot oatmeal, another might bring croissants or bake a banana bread, another is in charge of juice and one in charge of coffee. WE also try to have protein for those who are not big on carbs - so we often will have cheese slices as well.

so for 110 women there we have:
2 dozen bagels
combination of coffee cakes, muffins, croissants
one or two special dishes - baked oatmeal or french toast, or crockpot oatmeal
fruit (like I said a bag or clementines in bowl is well liked as much as cut up salad)
2 containers of yogurt
Coffee & related items.

It's vital to delegate if possible. People like to make their special muffin recipe or their aunt's baked french toast. Choose simplicity whenever possible - two yogurt toppings (ie blueberries & granola) can also apply to crockpot oatmeal as well (which you start at night and it's ready in the morning). Dont forget sugar and sweetners.

delegate, delegate, delegate.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If muffins / bagels are sold by the dozen, than 75 divided by 12 equals 6.2

Buy 3 packages of muffins, 3 dozen bagels.
Buy yougurt cups ready to go, pass on the extra toppings, but only for about 2/3rds of the people, so about 50 cups. Not everyone takes yougurt cups, but you should verify what is popular in your area and what is not.

Here' my gripe about your menu: there is no protein, nothing savory, it's all sweet and white flour. So personally, I'd be bummed about the menu, but happy you thought of us. And I don't drink coffee, I drink tea with whole milk and nice beverage condiments are always appreciated. I would eat the fruit.

Who ran this event last year? Contact them and ask what was leftover, what was a hit.

GL! It's very sweet of you to plan and execute this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

-Do you have a way to contact the past PTA president to see if she has a spreadsheet or a list? Are there notes as to how much food is a good amount for this size group?

-Something savory will be a big hit. I would use the bulk of the money for this.

-Yogurt is okay. I think most would like the savory items over this. When I do ladies breakfast (about 40-50) the egg dishes (with bacon or sausage) are empty and some didn't get a try, yet there was ALWAYS left over yogurt that goes to waste.

-Sounds like you already ordered the fruit trays. I normally make my own (yes for large groups). If you have other volunteers I think they should be able to make these. I only would let someone I trust made them (you know the over-the-top pinterest moms who like quality fruit). A friend is very clear 'do not buy pre-made because never fail it is stale and some fruit is already over ripe.'

-Costco comes in handy with the muffins and such. Those muffins are huge and can be cut in half.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have taken on the PTA Hospitality gig at two of my kids' schools over the years. I am the party lady :) I have a long list of parents who donate and a very large budget. I decorate the room and really go all out.

I love,love, love yogurt. But, personally I would scrap the yogurt bar idea. Don't make that a big item in your breakfast buffet. It isn't that popular among teachers and is a chunk of money. Buy a couple containers of yogurt at the grocery store and put a bowl of granola next to them to add on top.

Fruit platters are a hit but I never would order one because of the expense. They are easy to make yourself. Put out a pretty bowl filled with clementines and bananas and then a platter of fresh strawberries. All can be purchased at Costco.

You can get FREE day old muffins and bagels from local bagel shops if you call ahead. I do this all the time and score up to 120 bagels/muffins/protein bars. I call a week ahead and tell them what day my event is. They tell me to come in the evening before at closing time.

They box it all up for me then I take the loot home and sort them in large Ziploc bags. Then I just buy(or have parents donate) assorted flavored cream cheeses, peanut butter, Nutella and honey. I put out a couple toasters so they can toast their bagel if they choose to.

The MOST POPULAR item that I put out for breakfast events is breakfast casserole. The teachers go crazy for this stuff...seriously....totally overboard crazy!! They give so much day in and day out and are so grateful for the simplest pleasures :) Breakfast casseroles are simple and can be cheap. You could make a few or ask your helpers to make one each. could make some ahead of time and just ask some parents to bake and bring to school.

Our local stores will donate free donuts for teacher appreciation week. Our local Starbucks will even donate coffee,cups,creamer,sugar,stirrers. (I know you mentioned your school donates this stuff. Ours does too. Sometimes it is fun to switch things up and get stuff free!)

Something else that teachers love is oatmeal. It is super cheap and healthy. I do a couple of crockpots of oatmeal and then put brown sugar and blue berries out next to it. There are overnight,crockpot recipes on Pinterest. I do one apple/cinnamon and one is plain but cooked with butter,brown sugar and milk so it is sweet and creamy. The teachers go hog wild over this stuff and I get sooo many recipe requests.

Potato Bar is a great idea. Our teachers love when I do potato bar. I gotta finish up planning out my teacher appreciation week!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Add a meat. You can bake a few trays of bacon in the oven and have another mom do the same. Transfer to a chafing foil dish with warming flame. Maybe sausage links. I'd do enough small yogurts for a third of the teachers.
Bacon, sausage, fruit, muffins, yogurt, maybe add a few monkey breads or coffee cakes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I work in a middle school. I will say we do appreciate what the PTA does for us.

However, I really prefer protein for breakfast.... yogurt, muffins, and fruit is just too much carbs for me to do in the morning.

If you could add some breakfast casseroles, or breakfast tacos (very popular here in Texas), that would be really great.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Costco or any supermarket should have yogurt by the tub. That is best. You can freeze any unopened containers and use it for you next smoothie event.

As for the food, just give thought to a hotel continental breakfast. The ones that don't serve hot food.

If there are kids, I would add the small boxes of individual cold cereal. Otherwise what you have sounds good.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Anything like a Honey-baked ham you can get in your area? Would not have to heat it as long as it wasn't too cold. And already spiral sliced would help in serving. Add some biscuits from volunteers or a local place that makes good ones (like Cracker Barrel or Hardee's) -- breakfast sandwich.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'm not a big sugar/sweet eater for breakfast so something non-sweet would be nice too. Maybe a few large breakfast casseroles where people can take a scoop. You can get the large foil pans that can be thrown out. Mix up hash browns with some meat, eggs and cheese. Bake them before and they should stay pretty warm I would think. JMO. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First, thank you for what you're doing! I'm a PTA treasurer and nothing would get done without parents willing to roll up their sleeves and do the actual work.

Our teacher appreciation breakfast is basically the following:

Bagels, sliced and served as-is (not toasted)
Plain cream cheese, light cream cheese and a flavored cream cheese (usually veggie)
2 quiche
Yogurt and toppings
Fruit platter
Coffee, tea, juice and water

We have parents donate $$ or Dunkin Donuts gift cards for the above items. Parents then also donate food items - muffins, egg bakes, breads such as zucchini, pumpkin, banana, etc.

If I were you, I'd add in some bagels and cream cheese and some kind of egg dish, which will add some protein and give a savory/non-carb option. You can get nice quiches (either full ones or minis) at Costco, BJs or Sam's Club along with 32-oz tubs of yogurt. For yogurt, I would offer plain (for those who are avoiding sugar), vanilla and maybe a berry flavor. Or just the plain and vanilla. Assume a 4-oz serving per person, for maybe 1/3 - 1/2 of the guests.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you need some kind of protein on here. Maybe have some people sign up to make egg casseroles and make a few of them? They are pretty easy and cheap even if you had to make 3-4 yourself.

I would skip the yogurt, too many people don't eat it (we actually had this conversation in my office couple of hours ago).

So I would do:
Egg casseroles (or whatever kind of casserole to get protein in)
Bagels and cream cheese

This would NOT satisfy my husband who doesn't eat any of those things (minus the fruit) but he is weird. Most people will eat those things.

You could also do a French toast bake or something...easy!

Delegate to others and have people sign up. It will be much smoother.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with Ms. May - if this has been done in previous years, your first stop is talking to folks who've done it before.

Our elementary PTA always did appreciation breakfasts for teachers (and, wonderfully, for volunteers, with teachers providing the food!). What we did was ask for food/drink donations -- there were parents who gladly brought in food. The best way to organize this is to set up a list where you can specify things in a list; people just click to sign up to bring something and you can see exactly who is bringing what and how much you do or don't have. It really works well. You will absolutely need to have an e-mail list so you can get word out to PTA members and other parents to direct them to the SignUpGenius page you set up. It's really easy to set up your signup list and it's FREE. We used it all the time in elementary and still use it (even teachers use it to get parent volunteers) in middle school.

People do not have to register or create any personal accounts with SignUpGenius in order to volunteer for things using the site. That's one thing a lot of people REALLY like about it. You will have to register as a user to set up a list, but people volunteering to bring stuff do not have to register.

A sample list would include things like

Orange juice--four one-gallon cartons (you want to be sure folks understand they are volunteering to bring one item, not four, though some will sign up for more than one)

Bagels--One dozen (times five)
Muffins--One dozen (times whatever)
You get the picture.

People will buy fruit platters and bring them, etc. If you want to do the yogurt bar you might want to handle that yourself or ask for specific toppings to be brought. I would include some more variety rather than only muffins. Some folks don't like sweeter stuff at breakfast. I'd include muffins but also some bagels, plain croissants (not chocolate), even good biscuits since you're in SC.

Does your PTA have a budget for this? It could get expensive if it's all on PTA's dime. I would absolutely do a sign-up and get volunteer parents to bring stuff in. Parents were always very glad to do so when we had these breakfasts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We are doing pastries and doughnuts and coffee/tea/juice for the teacher breakfast. I would do fruit, muffins, doughnuts. Frankly, you want things they can take back to the classroom if necessary or can sit and not spoil quickly. You might also ask a local bakery about the muffins and see if they'll discount it for some advertising "Muffins supplied by Local Bakers".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The most important number for you is a head count. From there find out what a serving size is. Know how to go between fluid oz. and cups. Its easy enough to google. Guess what you think the average person will eat.

So lets say you have 20 people and you guesstimate they will each eat one 8 oz (or 1 cup) serving of yogurt, 1/2 cup of fruit, and a 1/2 muffin (assuming you buy the big ones and cut them).

find out how many half cups of fruit are on the platters. If they sell by oz. google how many oz. of cut fruit in a cup. Then do the math. Add about 15 % for extra.

Yogurt : (20 x 8oz.) x 1.15= (don't have calculator on hand sorry)
for fruit, ask or look up how many pounds or cups on a platter. Look up what a serving of fruit is and make sure you have one or two servings per person.
sorry hard dead line and I could not finish.
if nothing else see how many servings in the fruit platter. Its true "serving size" is not indicative of what people will actually eat, but its surprisingly close. If you don't have a lot of variety, as you describe, people may tend to eat more than one serving. If you have a lot of variety, people often eat less than a serving.

However, if it were me, I'd do an oatmeal bar, fruit platter, and an egg biscuit bar with fired eggs, tomato, turkey bacon, Morning Star veggie sausage patties, cheese slices, and butter.
Then a few individual flavored yogurt cups.

This will cover a greater variety of healthy eaters, savory breakfast types, vegetarians, and gluten free types.
Then, go pot luck style getting a lot of parents to bring individual ingredients.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

A. I have to agree with many of the posters that there is too much carbs/sugars here. You do need some protein in the way of an egg and ham casserole for example. These can be made the night before and baked the morning of and feed a lot of people.



answers from Los Angeles on

I like your menu. I would, however, add some scrambled eggs & sausage.
More hearty.
How about calling your local diner (Denny's, Carrows etc.) & see if they
would donate the scrambled eggs or the sausage?
If you can't find the big yogurt in bulk (call Costco to ensure you didn't
miss it or see if they can get it? Worth a try.), then you can either put it
out in bowls over ice or spoon into mini Dixie cups w/granola out to top
& some fresh fruit like strawberries/blueberries.
Your OJ, coffee & tea are perfect.
Costco has mini scones.
Also, if you can't find something at Costco, try your local bulk store.
Always allow for an extra serving per person as some people get extra
hungry when they see the nice spread.
I'd add bagles & cream cheese. Have a couple of 4 slot toasters on hand.
Sometimes what you can't find at Costco, you can find at your local grocery store (go to the cheapest not most expensive grocery store), l like those mini scones, bulk yogurt).
In regards to the yogurt....worst case it in your budget to buy
a box of Yoplait yogurts? They are semi small & you can just set them
Worst case scenario....if you can't get something donated (such as already cooked sausage from a nearby restaurant/diner), I'd cook it myself w/the help of those other ladies. It can be done quickly in one huge griddle & kept warm.
Good idea on having everything prepped night before. Have coolers ready to keep some things fresh.



answers from Las Vegas on


Great for you for stepping up to be a leader at your school! (I'm our PTA President this year and have also been VP, and Treasurer - 2yrs, so I know all of the time and effort you dedicate to help your child's school).

In addition to what you have, an egg or other protein option would be great.

Do you have a PTA room with a kitchen? Or access to a kitchen in the teachers' lounge? You can make some great quiches ahead and then warm them early that morning during set-up time.

If you don't have a kitchen on site, maybe some of your volunteers can work in teams and can do some cooking at home and transport to the school that morning? Scrambled eggs are easy to do in large batches. They can be kept warm in chafing pans or even crockpots on low.

Another option: even if you can't get the food donated, you might want to check businesses in the area around the school and see if they will work with you for a reasonable cost. Most of the restaurants around our school are very helpful in this way.

Good luck and hope you have a successful staff appreciation week!



answers from Pittsburgh on

For savory (and protein) I would purchase a few quiches. I suspect you can get them from Costco or Sams. I would be very hesitant to purchase from Chick-Fil-A or any other company that people have strong political feelings about. I would personally not eat any of it and would feel tricked if I found out later where the food was from. Kudos for putting in so much time and work.



answers from Chicago on

My youngest daughter's school had a parent information meeting a few weeks ago. They provided coffee or juice and continental breakfast. The breakfast was mini muffins, bananas and clementine oranges (easy to peel and in season), yogurt cups with a spoon, and a selection of donuts. You could also do small bagels. I do agree that most teachers would probably prefer to take their food to their rooms.

They did have a discount on the muffins from a local bakery and had a sign thanking the bakery for the muffins. Oh, and there is a grocery store near me with an in-store bakery that gives discounts to schools and chruches for large orders so you could try that.


answers from Los Angeles on

In our school division the food is donated by parents. If there are 70-80 staff it must be a huge school! Each parent donates something and they have a giant luncheon and snacks for the entire week. We end up with more than enough food.

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