So, you have a major event coming up within the next year or so. Perhaps it’s a holiday soiree or maybe a business luncheon or even a wedding. And if there’s to be food involved, there’s no doubt that you’ve been thinking about the best options for your main meal.

When it comes to serving food at your event, you’ll have a number of options from which to choose. Many hosts are absolutely set on having a served, plated meal. That’s often the number one choice for a very formal event. Another option is to serve your main meal “family-style”, which includes placing large bowls and platters on the table for all to share. That can be a good option, depending on your food choices, and can be quite cost effective as well.

And then there’s the buffet meal. Many hosts view this as only an option for a more laid-back event, but the truth is that buffet meals can be quite lovely and can offer food that is equally as scrumptious as that which is served at a sit-down dinner. There are also a number of other wonderful perks associated with buffet catering and choosing this type of meal for your event.

  • Variety – With buffet catering, you can offer more foods and a greater variety of items as well. Buffets often include several entrée choices as well as many sides, salads, and more. And for dessert, buffet caterers can provide a huge spread of sweets that guests will love much more than that single ice cream parfait or slice of cheesecake. In addition, variety means there’s likely to be something everyone likes, which means less wasted food.
  • Portion options – With a plated meal, everyone gets the same amount of food, regardless of their appetites. With a buffet option, those with small appetites can take smaller portions while those who really enjoy eating can load up on their favorites. Again, the option to control one’s portion results in less waste.
  • Dietary restrictions – Buffets are an easy way to offer options to those with particular dietary restrictions. For example, most caterers will suggest that you have several vegetarian options as part of your choices and you may even want to include something like a gluten-free pasta and some gluten-free desserts on your buffet. This way, everyone can enjoy their meals together and no one will be waiting for their special plated vegetarian entrée to arrive.
  • Guests can mingle – With a buffet meal, guests do indeed need to get out of their seats to get their food. Some individuals might groan a bit about that, but it really is nice for your guests to be able to meet others at the buffet tables and enjoy a chance to chat for a bit before they return to their assigned table.
  • Cost – In many cases, the cost of a buffet meal is less than that of a sit-down option. For many who are hosting large events, that’s one of the most important considerations, so pricing should definitely be discussed with your chosen caterer before you make a final decision about meal styles and food selections.

A little bit of both

If you’re not totally sold on the buffet option for your wedding, party, or other event, maybe you’ll want to consider a meal that is a combination of plated meal and buffet. You might think about having plated salads on the tables for your guests at the beginning of the meal and then allowing them to partake of the buffet for their entrees and sides. Afterwards, you can do a plated dessert if you prefer, or offer a wonderful sweets spread buffet-style for your guests to enjoy.

Consult your caterer

Your caterer can provide you with a host of options for buffet catering, from very “fancy” foods for weddings and formal parties to options that are much more casual, including barbecue selections. Buffets are also available for breakfast and lunch events and can be a very cost-effective way to feed a large number of people at meetings or conferences.

Talk to your caterer for more ideas on buffet meals that will make your next event a memorable one.