Home > Templates > Holiday > Dinner Planner Holiday Dinner PlannerUse this Microsoft Excel workbook to plan the timeline for holiday meal preparation. Enter the dinner time, then list the menu items and the time for each step. Print a timetable list, or a Gantt chart Note: To organize your weekly meal planning, ingredients, and shopping list items, go to the Weekly Meal Planner page. 
Enter the Dinner TimeCooking a big dinner, with lots of dishes, is like any other project  you need to coordinate all the activities, and people, and resources, to make sure the project is a success! In some projects, you decide when to start, calculate how long each step will take, then estimate when the project will be finished. Since the goal of this project is to serve dinner at a specific time, we’ll plan the schedule backwards, instead of forwards. So, the first thing you’ll do in this meal scheduler is to enter the time that you want to serve dinner. All the other times will be calculated, based on that dinner time. Select Your Dinner TimeTo select a dinner time, follow these steps:
The drop down list was created with Data Validation, and the times are in a table on the Lists sheet. You can edit that list of dinner times, on the Lists sheet, if needed. 
Enter First ActivityFor each dinner preparation step, you'll enter 5 pieces of information:
To enter the first activity, follow these steps:
Enter Remaining ActivitiesMove down to the next row, and repeat those steps, to enter the other 4 preparation steps for the turkey, and the other meal items. Then, enter all the food preparation steps for all of the remaining meal items 
Sort the ListAfter all the preparation activities have been entered, follow these steps to sort the timetable.

How the Dinner Planner WorksIf you'd like to see how the Dinner Planner formulas work, this section shows some of the details. You don't need to read this section though  you can just ignore the formulas! Go to the next section, and download one of the dinner planner templates, and get your dinner started! Time Calculation ColumnsOn the DinnerPlan sheet, are hidden columns (I:N) that have the time calculation formulas. To see the formulas, unhide columns I to N, and the formulas are explained below.. Time (Hrs)The time required for each step is entered in either column G OR column H:
To calculate the activity time in hours, the following formula is in cell I9:
Here's what that formula returns:

Item Time (Hrs)The total time required for each food item is calculated in column J. Here is the formula in cell J9:
Here's what that formula returns:
Lead Time (Hrs)The lead time required for each food item step is calculated in column K. Here is the formula in cell K9:
Here's what that formula returns:

StartNext, the Start time for each food item is calculated in column B. Here is the formula in cell B9:
Here's what that formula returns:
EndFinally, the End time for each food item is calculated in column L. Here is the formula in cell L9:
Here's what that formula returns:

Description and Start HrThe final two formula columns create the labels and data for the Gantt chart. This formula in cell M9 combines the food name, and activity description, to use for the Gantt chart label:
This formula in cell N9 converts the start time to a decimal number:
Video: How to Make a Gantt ChartThis video shows how a Gantt chart is built, and for written steps, you can go to the Gantt Charts page. 
Get the Workbooks1. Basic Planner: Download a copy of the free Excel Holiday Dinner Planner. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros. 2. With Recipe Finder: Download a copy of the free Excel Holiday Dinner Planner and Recipe Finder. The zipped file is in xlsmx format, and contains macros and connections for the recipe finder. 3. Excel 2003: Download a copy of the free Excel Holiday Dinner Planner and Recipe Finder for Excel 2003. The zipped file is in xls format, and contains macros and connections for the recipe finder. Note: To organize your weekly meal planning, ingredients, and grocery store shopping list items, go to the Weekly Meal Planner Template page. 
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Last updated: November 22, 2022 10:46 PM