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Table Settings Part VI

Jump to:-    Table Coverings and Decoration  | Cutlery, China and Napkins  Glasses  |  Food

Go to:-   Part I - Essentials  |  Part II - Formal Place Settings  |  Part III - Informal Place Settings  |   Napkin Folding  |  Parties




Buffets are an ideal way to cater for larger groups of people, especially for parties. They can be formal - where staff are employed to serve the main items such as slicing hot meat or poultry joints for the guests who then help themselves to accompaniments before being seated at tables or informal - where people just help themselves to what they want and then move elsewhere to eat their food,  seated or standing.


Which ever you choose, it is important to get the laying of the buffet table correct to avoid bottlenecks or cramping.


Buffet Table Coverings and Decorations


As there is likely to be a variety of foods placed on the table, it is best to keep coverings as plain as possible. White is always a good colour and will show off your dishes to the best possible advantage without making the overall effect look too fussy or cluttered.


Same goes for any decorations. If space allows, it is nice to have a large centre piece however, keep other decorations to a minimum as not only could they make the table look cluttered but they may also get in the way of people trying to serve themselves.


Buffet Cutlery, China & Napkins


The most important rule is to keep all the china in one place, preferably at one end of the table, so that people can collect their plate before moving on to choose their food.


The cutlery and napkins can either be placed near to the plates or, if you think it would make for a smoother flow of traffic, place them at the other end of the table so that people can pick them up once they have filled their plates.


A good idea is to wrap each knife and fork in a napkin, so guests can just pick up one "bundle" although this will only ne necessary if guests can be seated to eat their food otherwise, just a fork should be provided.


If necessary, serving cutlery should be placed on the table close to where the dishes are placed, and condiment sets should also be placed on the table at the end opposite to the plates.


Buffet Glasses

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In general, it is best not to have glasses on the main food buffet table however, if guests haven't been given a drink before they start to eat, place the glasses and drinks on a separate small table so that it doesn't interfere with the free-flowing traffic around the food buffet table.


Buffet Food


The exact placement of platters or dishes of food is down to personal taste however, it is best practice to place  savoury items at the end closest to the plates and sweet items at the opposite end. 


At formal buffets the accompaniments and side dishes should go somewhere in between the main savouries and the desserts.


If you don't have much seating available, keep the foods "bite sized"  or easy to eat with one hand or a fork whilst holding the plate in the other hand. In any event, where possible, place small tables or surfaces all around the room so that guests can rest their glasses or plates between mouthfuls.



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