From formal dinner parties to family gatherings and special events, there’s nothing quite like a well-set-up buffet. Buffets look beautiful, feed people quickly, and take the guesswork out of menus. But no matter how incredible they are, they’re still subject to the occasional mishap or mistake. To avoid those pitfalls and ensure that your buffet is a top-notch experience for everyone involved, follow these six tips for planning and setting up an amazing buffet.
Use Heights That Vary
Buffets that feature foods and drinks at the same level are uninteresting, flat, and disappointing. Delight guests by varying the height of various dishes and beverage stations. This principle comes from the design idea behind varied-height centerpieces, which bring drama, dimension, and appeal.
Have a Clear Beginning and End
It can be stressful enough to leave your seat and join a buffet line, let alone join the buffet from the wrong place. Set up the buffet table in such a way that guests know exactly where the beginning and the end is.
Label the Drinks and Dishes
Nobody wants to guess what they’re serving themselves, especially if they have dietary sensitivities or restrictions. Clearly label all drinks and dishes, so everyone knows exactly what they’re going to eat or drink. Identify items as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free as well as listing any allergens.
This tip for planning and setting up an amazing buffet is where the fun starts. Countertop chalkboard easels are a great way to label drinks and dishes. You can write with a fun script for a causal party or calligraphy for an elegant event.
Napkins and Utensils Last
While buffets should start with plates, they should end with napkins and utensils. This keeps guests from juggling too much at once while they try to fill their plates.
Consider the Layout
The layout of a buffet table is key. Determine whether the buffet is best placed along a wall, in the center of the room, or is in an area that allows easy access for people with disabilities.
Create a Backdrop
Buffets should be beautiful. In addition to varying the height of dishes and adding decorative items here and there (that blend with the party’s theme), add a backdrop to the buffet. This simple addition will tie the entire event space together and make the buffet look stunning.