Setting a Buffet Table: Tips & Tricks

Tis the season to be jolly and entertain friends and family. With plenty of holiday parties to attend or host, you’ll be sure to be feeding people. Whether you do all the cooking yourself or you’re having a potluck dinner, there is an art to putting together a buffet table to optimize flow and feed your guests well! Here are our tips for a hassle free buffet table at home.

Sunday Brunch

Photo: Hotel du Vin & Bistro

Use both sides

Pull the table you’re using away from the wall so both sides of the table can be used. Have the same food on both sides and it will help move people through the line quicker.

Make it easy

No one likes holding on to a bunch of things as they’re going through the buffet line. Trying to manage a plate, cutlery, napkins and serving yourself is hard! To keep it simple, put the plates on the buffet table at the beginning. You can stack your cutlery at the end of the table, or better yet, set your cutlery on the dining table prior to the dinner. For a fun look, try filling glass jars or vases with beans and setting your cutlery in them, or you could use anything that helps the cutlery stand up such as colorful jars, flower pots or festive cups.

Get some height

Having dishes set a different heights help with the organization of your table. You don’t have to reach across food and risk an accidental sleeve dipping into the mashed potatoes. An easy way to get the height that you want is to stack books, boxes or even food cans and cover it with a tablecloth. No one will know what is under there and all the dishes will be easily reachable.

The buffet

Photo: Steffen Ramsaier

Try it out

Lay out serving dishes before the actual day so you know whether or not you have enough plates and whether or not they all fit on the table. Test it out to see if all the dishes are within easy reach. Even if it is a potluck, try and get a general idea of what people will be bringing and make sure that you have the serving dishes for it.

Eliminate roadblocks

Move anything that might slow down the buffet table to either another table or the dining table. Create a beverage station away from the line, or have pitchers available on the table. The same idea with any condiments that you may have. Items like butter, salt and pepper can be on your dining tables. It is also a good idea to have a separated dessert table too.

Be a little selfish

This is a sneaky trick if you’re doing all the cooking and hosting. Put the stuff you like, and want leftovers of, at the end of the table. By the time people get there their plates will be full and they’ll likely take less of it. Sneaky!

How do you like to put together a buffet table? Any tips that we’ve missed?

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