Reinvent the Event Buffet

Revamp your buffet setup with these six tips

Buffets are an easy way to serve food and ensure that attendees eat a meal fit for their palates—but not all guests enjoy waiting in line for food and serving themselves. Here are some inspired ideas to revamp your buffet setup that will bridge the divide and leave every guest satisfied:

Switch Up the Presentation

For buffet stations that require a quick refresh, consider moving away from the standard one-table setup. Instead, place smaller tables around the room to cut down on attendee wait time. For a more adventurous, modern design, try suspending tabletops from the ceiling or using tables made of different materials, such as wooden pallets.

Liven Up Food Displays

Again, simple one-table buffet designs aren’t always particularly engaging. So, think of ways to make food displays more visually interesting. Maybe that means artistically plating food or arranging dishes around relevant centerpieces. For example, place treats around a campfire and invite attendees to roast marshmallows over the flame. 

Offer Create-Your-Own Options

Buffets are all about options, but some guests might prefer their own concoctions to ready-made foods. Offer stations with create-your-own dishes where attendees can choose from a roster of ingredients and on-site chefs whip it all together.

Pre-Plate Messier Food

Noodles, tacos, ribs—all are great meal options but can cause a mess when served from a communal dish. For fare with the potential for spillage, pre-plate servings to keep tables and guests clean.

Make It Interactive

Mealtime is prime time for attendees to connect with other guests, but it’s also an opportunity to interact with the meeting itself. For example, an open kitchen setup will allow guests to watch chefs prepare the next course.

Play with Lighting

Lighting is a key component of any meeting, and buffets are no exception. Even in a dimly lit room, attendees will need a proper light source to see what dishes are being served. Make sure dishes are illuminated, either by overhead lights or lighted displays.