Posted on November 29 2018
Setting up an enticing and efficient buffet requires planning and attention to details that will make your guests dining experience enjoyable. See our tips below for the ideal layout to keep the food line moving and allow for guests to safely carry each component of their meal back to their table.
The attention you pay to your buffet line’s arrangement will translate into an easier to manage spread that your dining customers will love.
Place two or three stacks of plates at the beginning of the buffet. Keep plates stacked short to avoid dishes falling and breaking.
Salads / Cold Plates
Put salads and cold dishes at the front of the buffet as hot foods may get cold if they are plated at the beginning of the line. Remember to offer salad dressing on the side so guests can add as much as they desire.
Entrees & Main Courses
Use sufficient heating elements to maintain food at safe temperatures for serving. Place toward the end of the buffet so they are plated closest to the time guests are headed back to their table.
Cold side dishes should be added on the table before entrees as they will hold their temperature better than warm sides. For chilled sides, use ice or similar cooling units to sustain safe temperatures.
Bread / Rolls
Display bread in a decorative bowl or basket to avoid items falling off the table. It’s recommended to include tongs which allow guests to cleanly make their selection. If butter or spread is available, place it directly next to the bread for easy access
Reduce the risk of guests dropping silverware while in line by keeping these at the end of the buffet. Guests will be able to carry fewer things while plating their meal. It may even be better suited to keep silverware on the dining tables instead.
Store drinks away from the food stations to make it easier for people to set down their plate for dispensing, or come back for a refill without pushing through the buffet line.
Anticipate that guests will not want to feel rushed into placing dessert on their main course plate. A separate dessert table allows guests to select a dessert (or two!) without rejoining the buffet line.
Tips for an Efficient Buffet
Larger sized portions increase waste. Give your guests the opportunity to taste small portions of each item, which also encourages them to try a variety of options.
Practical Serving Vessels
All aspects of a buffet should look appealing, but don’t forget about utilizing the correct serving vessels to maintain safe food temperatures.
Do not add new foods to empty containers on display. Take away the existing container and replace with fresh food in new containers.
Kitchen tools are inappropriate for dining room usage. Utilize the proper serving tools for an elegant look and correct portioning.