Buffet and plated serving styles each have their own set of pros and cons. If you have doubts about which style would be best to use for your event, you can see some tips for deciding in our previous article. If you’re still having trouble choosing, checking out the pros and cons of each style listed below should help make your decision easier.
The Buffet Dinner
The buffet style offers a variety of benefits. Flexibility, costliness, crowd control, and a wider variety of meal choices. With a buffet style dinner, guests can pick and choose which food they would like to eat and how much of it. This serving style is also advantageous for guests with dietary restrictions, as they can choose what to eat. While buffet dinners may have had a rough reputation, recently event organizers have become more creative when presenting this option to hosts and event planners. For example, “action stations” are becoming more popular, carving stations, and even themed stations are starting to trend.
The most significant con to buffet style catering is the time it takes. During plated dinners, event goers can enjoy the event activities while waiting for food to arrive. However, when using a buffet style meal, the event usually has to pause for guests to get food, which may or may not be served in the main area of the venue. The time it takes to serve guests depends on how many people attended. The more people, the longer the wait for food will be.
The Plated Dinner
A plated, or seated, dinner adds a layer of elegance to your party or reception. It also encourages guests to interact with each other without distraction. Seated dinners also lower wait times and add consistency to your meal. Servers are able to control serving times by making sure everyone has their course at an exact time.
Seated dinners are not without their complications however. They can limit the space of the venue, and possibly affect your guest count. Because seated dinners are an extremely coordinated affair, you may feel there isn’t as much flexibility. For instance, guests would have to either pre-select their entrees or give their order to the server at dinner, which can be both timely and costly. Additionally, seated dinners require an exact headcount, which can be both comforting and frustrating if some guests fail to RSVP but attend anyway. Some caterers advise planning on a few extra meals, just in case.
There are of course other varieties of dinner situations that can also be used. Some event planners suggest using a hybrid seated/buffet style reception where only certain courses are served, such as salad and desserts, and the guests are free to hold their own main course. Other options include cocktail dinner or family style dinners. No matter which option you choose, keep in mind whatever the main goals of your event may be and focus on how you want your guests to come away from your party. Enjoy creating the best event possible and good luck satisfying all those lucky guests!
For more information about event catering solutions, contact Italian Garden, located in San Marcos, TX.