How to Set Up a Buffet

Gone With the Wind on The Salonniere

Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Fiddle-dee-dee, doll. On the off chance that you’re planning a bahbecue for Labor Day, whaddya say we leave the bottlenecks to the beer. Here are 10 no-fail tips for setting up the perfect party buffet.

1. Set up your food, drinks and dessert tables in different locations so your guests aren’t all trying to get to the same place at the same time. If you’re having a large party, you can even put appetizers on a separate table from your entrées. Multiple tables also add visual appeal and enlarge your entertaining space.

Drinks Buffet on The Salonniere

2. For sit down buffet meals, use nine or ten-inch plates. Six-inch plates are best if your guests will be standing up while they eat. Also, offer multiple stacks of plates on the buffet and make them easy to grab. People feel most comfortable waiting when they have a plate in their hands.

3. Place your flatware and napkins at the end of the buffet table so your guests won’t have to balance them and their plate of food while they move through the line. Better yet, consider putting your flatware and napkins on the table. For a Labor Day barbecue, flatware looks pretty wrapped up in red, white and blue bandanas and placed – handles up – in mason jars.

mason-jars

4. Place hot foods at the end of the buffet line so they’ll still be warm when your guests begin eating.

5. Place sauces, spices and relishes next to each corresponding dish so your guests will know which condiment you’re recommending with each item.

6. Present your foods in easy-to-grab portions so it’s effortless for your guests to serve themselves.

7. Ensure that your platters look abundant so your guests feel comfortable taking as much as they’d like and aren’t worried about there being enough for others.

Buffet Table on The Salonniere

8. Create visual appeal by adding height (you can elevate platters using everything from wooden boxes to stacks of books that fit with your theme), texture (moss, twigs, barrels and burlap table cloths are all lovely for outdoor gatherings) and little signs so your guests know what you’re offering.

9. Change out your platters at least once an hour to make sure everything stays fresh and looks delectable.

10. Do a practice run the day before your party to check the look and flow of your buffet and to make sure that you have all the serving pieces and condiments you’ll need. You can use index cards to note where each food item will go.

Welcome photo: Gone With the Wind, 1939
Welcome quote: Mame, 1958

Photos: BackyardSimple.com and Homedit.com

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