Superbowl parties, birthday parties, and weddings — oh my!
Whatever the festive occasion, when you need to feed a crowd, it makes a lot of sense to set up a buffet. Your guests will feast at their convenience. (Some might even go back for seconds.)
But arranging a convenient display isn’t as simple as putting a few plates of food on the table with silverware and napkins, and calling it a day. Don’t get us wrong: It’s not rocket science, but there are a few key points to bear in mind when you decide to feed your guests buffet-style:
People gather in packs. Think herd mentality, and survey the room in which your buffet will be set up. Determine where people will gather and where people will walk, and only then will you be able to determine where to place the buffet table.
The food line needs a clear starting point, and a clear end point. Some people will, undoubtedly, go up the down staircase, but if you make the arrangement easy to navigate, most of your guests will get the picture.
Cold food first, then hot. This may seem like common sense, but it’s important to think of everything. Placing the hot, main dishes on the far end of the table will ensure that your guests enjoy each component of their meal at the correct temperature.
Think about it: If you serve a portion of lasagna first, and then must stand in a buffet line behind Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe who take five minutes decide whether they want green beans or brussels sprouts. Your lasagna will be cold by the time you find your seat.
Again, we’re back to flow. A beverage station — especially if there’s coffee — set on the same table as the food is guaranteed to interrupt flow. Can’t you just imagine Aunt Sally trying to juggle a plate of food while she pours a drink, all while doing her best to not hold up the line any further? T-r-o-u-b-l-e.
Make it easy for your guests to fill, and refill their glasses with ease and convenience. Also keep in mind that liquid sloshes and people are clumsy: The drink table is quite a bit more prone to spills than the food table, so you should stop by and tidy this station regularly.