Film Catering: How to Feed Your Crew on a Budget

Your favourite film & food enthusiasts are back, and this week we’re putting together our two passions in one! If there’s one thing Kat and Dušan know well, it’s food. Film Catering is key to ensure the smooth running and functionality of your film crew. A well fed crew is a happy crew, and a production running under budget means a happy producer, so as long as you’re prepared and plan in advance, you’ll be fine! But just in case, here’s some handy tips we’ve compiled from our own experience that might help you before you start shooting…

Keep Your Crew Healthy

Just because you’re on a tight schedule & budget, doesn’t mean you have to stick to pizza & chips… There’s a range of ways that you can provide healthier options to your crew without breaking the bank. Carbs can tend to cause tiredness in your crew, so a well-stocked fruit bowl is always appreciated. Also, make sure there are constant options available especially for those who are constantly on-set – and don’t forget breakfast options for those starting early!


Make sure you have water bottles for each of your team, and keep a sharpie on hand to name them all as they’re bound to get mixed up. Failing that, keep a jug of water in a fridge and ensure cups are available, especially when shooting in summer. Some ice lollies might also help to up the mood and keep your crew cool, plus a sugar boost during the day is always welcome – plus they’re cheap to buy and easy to make! Hurrah.

Batch Cooking

You know how I love to be thrifty, and batch cooking is a great way to save on money and time when catering for your crew. By making meals en-masse in advance, you can pre-portion out foods if you have crew on location, and you can make sure you have at least one hot-meal prepared for your crew as easily as possible. If you’re making something like pasta, rice or potato then its a quick way to cook a variation of dishes whilst using the same base. Try and provide at least one hot meal for your crew, especially when working long hours or into the night. You want to make sure you’ve given them the best fuel to make the best film they can.

DIY foods

If you have a very tight schedule and expect your crew to be breaking intermittently, it’s a great idea to stock up a selection of cold, deli foods and allow the option for people to make their own lunches. Wraps can be a great idea, as you can provide a variety of fillings and salad so that your meals aren’t too carb-heavy and everyone can make them quickly for themselves whilst you’re busy with other things. It’s a great way to avoid the typical sandwich meal-deals, AND they work out a lot cheaper and healthier.

Energy Boost

Okay, so we’ve been pretty healthy so far, but always make sure you’ve got enough sugar on stanby to fend off the mid-afternoon energy low. You can stock up on multipacks of sweets and biscuits for a low price at supermarkets, and own-brand energy drinks can be a saviour. Also ensure you have enough tea and coffee making supplies to keep caffeine levels up – this is especially important if you’re on a night shoot so that you can keep your crew warm too!

Preparation is Key

The key to staying on budget is to be prepared. If you don’t, you’ll likely end up having to order food in at a hefty price, and no one wants to have to eat cold pizza if the shoot overruns. Plan your mealtimes in advance and make sure you let everyone know what time breaks are so that the food can be prepared on time. If you’re running over on your scheduled times, then keep your caterer in the loop so they can adjust their timings accordingly. Also, insure that you have collated any information on dietary requirements or allergies so that you’re prepared in advance and let everyone know in the morning what food is available, so that any issues can be resolved before you start rolling.

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Read another one of our articles on The Best foods to Provide on a Shoot.



Kathryn is an MA graduate in Film and Television from The University of Bristol. After moving from the depths of the countryside, Kathryn has swapped fields for filmmaking and has recently worked as a Production Assistant for Baby Cow. Kathryn continues to make informative (read: hilarious) videos with fellow Raindancer Dusan, and hopes to pursue a career in the film industry to financially support her cat.

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