Whether you're hosting an awards evening for hospital administration, creating the perfect space for wedding receptions at your hotel, or feeding an army of golfers after a country club fundraiser, there is more than one way to set up your buffet. And you're probably wondering what method is best.
THE SINGLE LINE
There are clear benefits to the single line buffet. For one, it's organized and streamlined and can work well for tight spaces where there isn't as much room for guests to mingle. As long as you have a good location to set up the buffet (near the kitchen, out of the way of guest tables), keeping the food to one area of the room can make it easy for guests to access the food, while keeping table space free from foot traffic.
Guests enjoying conversation don't want to feel like they need to push their chair in every few minutes to allow someone to walk behind them to the buffet so avoiding traffic near table settings is essential.
If the goal is to get guests up and moving and to mingle with each other, stations are a great option. If space allows, setting up stations throughout the venue can allow for a mix of seated tables and cocktail tables. In this type of setting, it's typical for guests to take a small plate of food and to try each different station separately while visiting with other guests, rather than having the focus on one large meal.
This type of setup is ideal when various types of cuisine are offered. You might have a carving station in one area, with a pasta station in another; one area for Mexican food and another for Asian stir fry. This works well for large gatherings with a mix of palates and preferences. It can also work well for keeping vegetarian stations separate from meat carving stations, where some guests may be turned off from the food.
Get acquainted with buffet station concepts and configurations by checking out our comprehensive buffet service stations guide.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
To help you decide between a more traditional single line buffet and the stations alternative, consider the following questions:
- How many guests will be attending the event?
- Do you have a banquet hall large enough to accommodate various stations?
- Can you keep serving stations away from high traffic areas such as restrooms, and in close proximity to the kitchen for easy refills and buffet maintenance?
- Who are your guests and what are their expectations?
Looking to elevate your buffet service? Discover the components to better buffet service in the new guide from Bauscher Hepp.