A buffet is a great way to feed your guests at any party. It is ideal for various social gatherings, from weddings to parties and even business conferences.
If you are considering a buffet setting for an event, here are some reasons to convince you.
Buffets are convenient, especially when hosting large crowds. You don’t have to serve guests.
They offer guests a variety of food choices. Guests serve themselves according to their food preferences.
They provide an opportunity for interaction, bringing people closer.
Buffets need less manpower to serve guests compared to a sit-down meal.
They give guests the chance to serve food portions according to their appetite. This prevents food wastage.
There is no magic to a stunning buffet setting. With some creativity and good food presentation, you will impress your guests.
Your decor should always blend well with your linen. Choose linen that has high colour retention and can withstand repetitive washing and drying.
Finding good quality table linen in Australia is not difficult.
Just get in touch with Australian Linen Supply. They sell affordable food and beverage linen.
Now let’s look at five easy steps that will take your buffet setting from good to great!
1. Have a Menu Plan
Draw up a menu plan a few days before your event. It will save you on food prep time and avoid last-minute decisions.
The menu should factor in all the diet needs of your guests. For example, not everyone eats meat. Include vegetarian or vegan options in your menu for such guests.
Don’t forget to offer an assortment of drinks to go with the food. Have both processed and naturally flavoured drinks, as well as water, to cater to various needs.
Once you know which foods are on the menu beforehand, plan the platters on which to serve different foods.
Ensure you have a slow cooker to keep your food hot so those who arrive late can still get a warm meal. They will appreciate it.
To save yourself some headache on the day, plan well.
2. Consider the Furniture and Space Arrangement
Image from: Werner Sidler
Visit the venue ahead of the event and have a clear picture of the space available. This will help you settle on a suitable style of table setting and seating arrangements.
Don’t shy away from rearranging the furniture if need be. What works in your restaurant daily may not work out for the buffet setting.
You don’t want any surprises on the day of the event. When you organise the furniture and space in advance, you’ll see what’s missing beforehand.
The seating arrangement should be spacious. People need to be able to walk in and out with minimal distractions.
Set different tables for food, drinks and dessert. Don’t crowd the buffet table. It will increase your risk of spills and slow people down as they move along the serving points.
Depending on the space available, you can place the buffet table at the centre of the room or beside a wall. Always ensure there is good traffic flow without people brushing shoulders.
3. Plan Your Decor
You want everything about the event to go right. Come up with a theme for the event and match this with suitable decor. It will bring cohesion to the event.
It’s not enough to have a buffet table covered in a tablecloth. Dress the table with colourful drapings that will match your decor.
Remember, the buffet table is the star of the event. You can turn a basic buffet table into a stylish one with these tablecloths.
When it comes to table placement, get picture-perfect and colourful table linen. Use table linen of different shapes, fabric and texture. It will add character to the table.
Here are some good options:
4. Organise the Buffet Table
Present different groups of food on different stations. It looks more attractive. For example, have different stations for drinks, fruits and desserts.
Arrange the food in varying heights to create some visual appeal. Use cake stands, tall platters and large bowls to add varying heights. If you don’t have any of these, improvise using stacks of magazines or books.
Label all your foods, beverages and desserts. Guests shouldn’t be hovering over the serving table trying to figure out the dishes.
Your buffet table needs to be both attractive and functional. Use centrepieces on the buffet table that blend well into your theme.
A good option is to use fruits or vegetables as your centrepieces. For example, curve a watermelon to look like a basket and fill it with fruit salad.
Use a riser to elevate your carved-fruit centrepiece above the level of the other dishes.
Once your buffet table is set, have a look at your serving pieces. Ensure you have enough serving spoons and tongs for each dish you serve.
Stack plates together at the beginning of the queue. Do not put more than twelve plates per stack.
Place the knives, forks and spoons either at the guests’ dining tables or at the end of the buffet table.
5. Position Your Dishes
Organise the food on the buffet table in the order in which people will eat.
Place starters such as soups, salads and rolls at the beginning of the table. The side dishes go to the middle and the main course at the end.
Pre-cut your desserts such as pies or cakes. This will help to control the portions and make it easy for people to pick from the serving plates.
Use a flavour matrix to group similar foods and flavours together. It balances the sweet, sour and bitter tastes. This gives your guests extraordinary dining experience.
At the end of the table, place extra cutlery. One should access an extra spoon or fork without interfering with the buffet line.
Always have plenty of napkins. Spills are inevitable since everyone will be serving themselves. Make them easy to grab by folding them with the seam facing up.
6. Mind the Traffic Flow
Nobody enjoys waiting in line to get their food.
The longer you have to be in the queue, the less time you get to enjoy the meal. It also interferes with the food quality; the food tends to overheat or cool down.
Your guests want to move along the queue quickly and avoid overcrowding. Make it easy for them by marking the start and endpoint to the buffet table. You could also assign a server who will direct people and control the queue.
If your buffet table is at the centre of the room, create two queues so guests can serve themselves from either side.
Beverages tend to slow down the queue. Allow your guests to serve drinks at the end of the buffet.
Once people have served their food, let them sit at their designated tables.
Add a touch of elegance to your buffet by assigning servers to carry plates for your guests to their tables. The servers could also provide beverages at tableside or at the dinner table.
Let’s Wrap Up
Your buffet setting is ready. Now go ahead and give your guests a dining experience worth remembering.
For all high-quality linen, get in touch with Australian Linen Supply.
ALS stocks tablecloths and linen in a variety of shapes and colours for all occasions. They also deliver all over Australia!