Run through the pros and cons of table service and buffet.
“Sit down or buffet?”
Anyone who’s ever planned an event, whether it’s a huge wedding reception or an intimate family reunion, has probably gotten the all-important food question. Depending on what you’re serving and what you want your celebration’s vibe to be, you can opt for either type of service to keep the guests happy. Table service will have everyone on their chairs with waiters milling around the venue, while buffet gives them a low maintenance experience, where they line up for the food and serve themselves.
Navigate through our quick run through between these two catering styles and make the choice that’s right for your party.
Your go-to for formal events. If you expect your guests to show up in suits, ties and ball gowns, they’re going to want to keep their attire pristine by being served at the table.
Better for bigger parties. Logistically speaking, this set-up works better if you’re thinking about feeding 200 guests upward. Just think of the lines everyone will have to endure if they’re all lining up for the same chafing dishes… Not a pretty scenario!
Good for social interaction. Standing in line in a buffet can cut serious chat time at the table. If you want your guests to catch up, mingle, and interact with each other, table service will give them the space and time to do just that.
Everyone gets a taste of everything. If you’re incredibly proud of the menu you’ve curated for your special occasion, you’ll be sure that everyone gets a taste of every single item if you bring it straight to their seats.
Awesome for providing alternatives. Buffets offer guests the benefit of choice. If you’ve got some vegetarians on your list and they’re only given steak via table service, you’re going to have some unhappy people at dinner. On the other hand, a buffet line gives guests the option of picking and choosing so they’re sure to get something they enjoy.
More to choose from. If you’re particularly excited about the chef you hired, or the dozens of tapas plates he’s preparing, then a buffet will allow you to showcase an entire gamut of food choices. You can go a little more adventurous with the food you serve because for every extra spicy plate you’re offering, there will also be a more crowd-friendly standard to pick.
Buffets are flexible. If you’re hassled by the thought of everyone queuing up for food, you can adjust what’s served at the table (soup, salad, desserts, for example) and what guests can actually line up for.
Easier pack up. If you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers, buffets can give you the option of doggie bagging the leftovers without much hassle. This is perfect for those concerned about wasting not and wanting not.