Catering a Buffet: Tips to Impress Your Guests

buffet food

Do you have a large number of people to feed and you’re looking for a cost-effective solution? Impress your guests at your next catering event with a flawless buffet. With some planning and tips, you can have a simple buffet menu that both satisfies appetites while giving off that “wow” factor.


For starters, remember that when serving a large number of people, it’s important to keep your menu uncomplicated. While you should choose foods that vary in color and texture so that your spread is aesthetically-pleasing, make sure to choose flavors that work well together. When guests eat at a buffet, chances are that the different foods will mix together, so their flavors should complement one another.

It’s always wise to have a few appetizer-type dishes on the table for your guests to enjoy such as olives, bread with jams or a cheeseboard. These small plates can help buy you some time in case the buffet is running a little late.

how-to-catering-a-buffetFood Quantity

So how much food should you have? No one wants to run out of food at and event, but you also don’t want a giant surplus of leftovers. In addition to knowing the number of guests that will be attending your event, you should consider how long the event is (will people be hungry later on?) and what type of event it is. For example, if you’re hosting a dinner buffet, plan on serving two main entrée options around 6 oz/person with a salad, three sides (vegetables, beans, pasta, etc.), bread and a dessert.


Once you have decided what should be on the menu, it’s time to gather your catering supplies. Having the proper equipment can make or break your catering job. If you’re serving hot food, do you have all the proper equipment to keep your food warm without being soggy? If you’re serving cold food, do you have a way to keep it fresh and cool? In addition to the food display, you can’t forget buffet serving ware, dinnerware, flatware, beverage dispensers, linens and glassware. In essence, you have to be prepared with a mobile restaurant. And don’t forget the ice!

Room Setup

When it comes to the setup of the room, make sure to give everyone space. Place drink stations on opposite sides of the room to make it easy for guests to fill up their cup. You don’t want the drink stations to be too close to the buffet or else your food and drink lines will clash. On the food table, start with the plates at the beginning of the line, followed by the food and ending with the cutlery at the end of the line. No one wants to juggle their eating utensils while trying to fill their plate.

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