At the top of any catering checklist is a blank space for numbers. Everything that comes out of the kitchen, including waiters and silverware, is determined by the guest count provided by the event planner. If this number is inaccurate then the whole operation will break down one piece at a time.
Sadly for the caterers, attendees don't often know when a planner has "dropped the ball" on guest counts. All they see is catering staff rushing around to accommodate the last minute details of an event. This is unfortunate for everyone, especially since most catering problems can be solved with a better approach to planning.
Every catering department has guidelines that were created to provide the best service to clients. There is a timeline involved with each client deadline that gives the department enough time to react to changes in counts and menus. When information comes in outside of these guidelines it can add stress to the entire production.
Event planners who respect the importance of catering numbers will see the results of their efforts on the event floor. Food quality, presentation and table service are all tied to the availability of accurate numbers. Those who understand this are more likely to avoid catering-related issues at their events.