How Many Donuts?

Last week I attended a big gaming convention called Gen Con. Even though Stonemaier Games is a small company (I’m the only full-time employee), we’re able to have a slightly bigger presence at this convention thanks to our volunteers. A part of my job is to make sure these volunteers are happy, and a subset of that is food.

So I arranged for the hotel to provide bagels, donuts, and coffee at exactly 8:30 each morning. That way our volunteers didn’t need to wait in line at Starbucks or walk several blocks to wait in line at Panera. Ideally this would also help them get more sleep.

Here are the factors I considered when calculating the amount of breakfast food required for volunteers (I’ll include myself and my co-founder among “volunteers”):

  • 11 volunteers spent a significant amount of time in the conference room each day (they were my main responsibility)
  • 11 other volunteers either spent a little bit of time in the conference room or a lot of time at the booth each day (while I wanted these volunteers to have a good time, they were more under the scope of the company running the booth)
  • Not everyone eats breakfast, and those who do have a broad range of preferences
  • I don’t like to waste food

Given that information, how many bagels and donuts would you order for breakfast each day in the conference room?

I ask this rather odd and specific question because–all in good fun–the volunteers seemed to get a good laugh out of the precise number of donuts I ordered. However, as it turns out, the most of the donuts were quite large, and we always seemed to have either the exact amount of breakfast food required or a little bit too much.

My answer was 8 bagels and 4 donuts. I figured we’d have around 10 people wanting breakfast each day, and some of them would want various combinations of bagels and donuts.

Based on that data, how many donuts would you have arranged for daily breakfast? And bagels as well, if you wish.