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Simple Tips for Setting up a Great Buffet

by Dom Pollydo


With the festive season just around the corner, you are most probably gearing up to jam the dining table with food and guests. However, smart hosts know how to resist that urge, and their secret is quite simple; set up a separate and well-organized buffet line. 

This offers your guests the freedom to serve themselves other than struggling to pass a contingent of hot and heavy casserole dishes to one another. Unfortunately, setting up a perfect buffet line involves much more than just cramming plates of food on one table. 

You need to act smart and be creative to keep things in order. In this post, we discuss some of the clever tricks you can use to set up a perfect holiday buffet this festive season. 

Consider the Movement of People When Setting Up Your Table

People always tend to move in packs whenever food is involved. They become more like a shoal of fish or heard of cattle than human beings. They pool in eddies and even find eating space next to the food table.  With time, your dining room may appear overcrowded, yet there is a lot of space to accommodate everyone comfortably. 

To avoid such a scenario, consider the movement of guests when setting up your buffet line. You can borrow some tricks from how you see things in your favorite West Island restaurant and provide a specific starting point and ending point. 

This will ensure there is a lot of extra space in between the starting and ending point. Your primary objective here should be to achieve good flow. You can even set up alternate destinations in the dining room for people to drift towards so that everyone can reach food comfortably. 

Move the Buffet Out of Your Kitchen

To avoid overcrowding your kitchen space, consider setting up the buffet on one side of your dining room that is far from the kitchen. Cover the food properly until you are ready to serve. 

Depending on the overall layout of your house, you may even want to set up the buffet line in your living room. People tend to crowd in awkward areas such as doorways and near sinks, so make sure you move all essentials such as appetizers and napkins away from these spots. 

When moving food out of the kitchen, consider using a warm tray, and keep everything organized.

Put Drinks on a Separate Table from the Food

Getting a drink, especially when there is coffee, creates a totally different flow. So, you may want to keep the drinks on a separate table to make it easy for your guests to refill their glasses without interfering with the buffet line. 

Make sure the drinks table is as close to the kitchen area as possible since the pots of coffee and jugs of water may be a little bit heavier than food trays. By keeping the drinks table close to the kitchen, you also avoid unnecessary spillage.

Elevate Some of the Dishes

Are you running out of room on your food table? You can create more space by using elevated platforms such as three-tiered servers and cake plates. 

Typically, tiered displays occupy less space, and they are appealing to the eye. If you don’t have tiered servers, try to position small platters on upturned pots or bowls covered with dish towels to accomplish the mission.


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