Group size is a big factor for choosing any type of tour, but it is even more important for choosing a food tour. Certain types of tours can be enjoyed in a large group without as much of a problem, but it’s a little different when doing a culinary walk. From my experience, smaller is usually better when it comes to your food tour group size.
Eating is an intimate thing
There is a difference eating between 100 people in a banquet versus a few friends in the back corner booth at a restaurant. We bond over food and having a smaller group means a more intimate setting. The same applies for food tours.
Seating is limited
On some food tour stops, you are eating standing up in a shop or in a pub or even out in the street. In others, your group is snuggled around a table savoring the flavors of the city. In most places, seating is built around smaller groups rather than larger ones. So having to squeeze an extra few seats around a table can be uncomfortable and ruin the experience.
Firsts and Seconds
The more people there are the slower food seems to appear. Distributing food to 20 people is significantly slower than to prepare something for 6. So in a larger group, you are going to wait longer for your food or, if you are one of the lucky first, wait longer for others to finish. And at those stops where you are passing around a plate of cheese or salami, your chance at getting seconds is low if the group is too big.
More people means more time spent on logistics and less time spent on explanation and eating. Getting from one place to the next simply takes more time with a bigger group. More people also means it can be hard to hear the guide talk about the food and the history, which is why you’re on the tour.
Downsides to a Smaller Food Tour
I haven’t found many negatives to having a smaller group size on a food tour. The price might be a little higher since there are fewer people, but it’s usually not significant. You might not like some of the people in your group, and they’re harder to avoid in a small group, but for a few hours, it’s not a big deal. You can find and book private food tours, just the guide and you, but the cost is definitely higher.
Perfect Group Size for Food Tours
My sweet spot tends to be a food tour group size of 6-8 people. I have been in tour groups as high as twelve. When well managed, a group that big can work, but that is the maximum. With 6 and a guide, everyone can sit comfortably around a single table in most places. There are plenty of others to talk to and the cost is not as high as a private tour.
The food tour group size is an important factor when choosing the perfect food tour. It can really improve the experience and help you enjoy the tour.
Read more about food tours:
- Which Food Tour in Rome Should You Take?
- Can You Take a Food Tour with Allergies or Dietary Restrictions?
- Atlanta Food Tour Review
- And check out the tours section here