I am often asks should we offer a plated or buffet meal? My questions include: 1) How many guests will be attending, 2) Is the event formal or informal and 3) How restrictive is your budget? Even with a buffet setting the presentation and convenience of the food arrangement for your guests is so important. Do you want people rushing to get the food as if there will be none left or reaching over others just to get their selection of meat? No doubt a buffet table without a hostess or server can be a disaster.
My suggestion for a formal event is to have a served meal. If your guests are in tuxedos and gowns they will be expecting the best of service.However, I have seen buffet settings at wedding receptions, women luncheons and corporate business dinners where the guests had to move between tables and chairs and drinks and waiters. This works for some events and may not work for others. On an average a doubled-sided buffet table or line will accommodate up to 100 guests in less than 1 hour. However, this depends on the menu selection and if the guests want to taste everything on the table and/or leave and return for another plate for a friend or family member. Have you ever been in a line when someone breaks in front of you to get a roll or forget to pick-up their utensils? Buffet settings need plenty of space for the guests to move around as the beverages and desserts should have their own area in the room. Without a doubt most adults prefer to be served as this allows for a pleasant conversation and avoids chairs that get stuck in the carpeting and just will not slide away from the table. Have you ever experienced your chair getting caught in the table linen or chair cover as you move away from the table and every glass on the table starts to shake-rattle and roll? For convenience and the size of your guest’s attendees a plated meal provides a uniform appearance and is convenient for the serving staff. There is a place for a buffet line if the guests list is small–less than three entrée selections and you are not that concerned about a timeline of events. No doubt buffets are great for some parties, luncheons, informal networking events and food tastings. You can also ensure that the meal is run smoothly by having the venue preset the tables with drinks and dessert. However, be careful as the ice should not have melted in the beverages where the tea now looks like water. I will also suggest that you have someone announce and ‘release’ the tables so there will not be a long line or crowd if you select a buffet setting. Remember that these suggestions will not work for every group as they must be coordinated with your Event Planner and the Hotel Event Manager. The decision is yours based on your guests and the theme of the event if you are preparing a plated or buffet meal. Both can be very enjoyable as you ensure that the ambiance of the room as the host/hostess will make all of the difference.
Now Let’s Enjoy This Party-