It happens to everyone now and then – the person who was supposed to provide the refreshments for the PTA luncheon came down with the flu, and you're the next volunteer in line. Or your spouse volunteered you to make the eats for the office's company picnic next weekend. How can you provide a delicious spread without breaking the bank or overworking yourself? A sandwich bar is one easy way to make it work. Take a look at some tips that can help.

Make Your Own Buns

The first thing that you're going to need is a lot of bread. If you don't have time to wait for your local grocery store to put the good sandwich rolls on sale, you can make your own for a reasonable price. You just need milk, eggs, flour, oil, salt, yeast, and a sweetener like sugar or honey. You can also add wheat gluten if you like, or leave it out if you know that your diners will prefer a gluten-free menu.

Put the ingredients into a bread machine, or mix with a stand mixer and place the dough in a greased bowl and allow it time to rise. Form the dough into thin loaves for hot dog buns or rounds for hamburger or sandwich rolls. Place on a baking sheet covered in wax paper, preheat your oven, and cook for 15 to 22 minutes. You can make these in advance and freeze them until you're ready to use them.

Save Money on Deli Meat

When you're going to be serving deli meat to a large number of people, your best bet is to order directly from a wholesale provider and skip the markup at the grocery store.

Make sure you have an accurate count of how many people you'll be serving. While it's always better to have more food than you need than not enough food, you can prevent overspending by ordering the correct amount of meat per person. As a rule, you should plan on needing between a quarter pound and a third of a pound of meat per person. If there will be other meats at the event, like wings or meatballs, you can plan for the smaller amount, around a quarter pound per person. If sandwiches are going to be the only food or the main dish, plan on a third of a pound per person. Keep in mind, also, that you'll need to err on the higher side if it's a dinner event, as people tend to expect more food and eat more at dinner time. If it's a lunch event, you can order a bit less. 

By making your own sandwich rolls, ordering deli meat wholesale (from an outlet such as Nossack Fine Meats Ltd), and buying the correct amount for the expected crowd, you can keep your costs down. That will take some of the stress out of providing food for an event on short notice.