Corporate and Special Event Catering Blog

2 Popular Banquet Service Styles

Posted on Sun, May 1, 2011 @ 05:09 AM

How will you serve the guests at your party?  Here are the most common special event styles of service:

Plated Meal Service

banquet server
photo by Adrian Nier

This is where your guests are seated and served at their dining table – very similar to what you would experience at a restaurant or hotel. This service is a more traditional and formal, and will require more time for this portion of the event than buffet service.   It will more than likely cost you more than buffet service simply because of the number of Wait Staff needed to serve your group is greater than what’s needed for buffet service. 

You can modify this service by having some things already on the tables for the guests when they’re ready to sit down and eat, depending on what you’ve chosen to serve.  You can “pre-plate”


Breads, Rolls and Butters, Jams, Jellies


Sauces, Salad Dressings and Condiments

Beverages – Water and Iced Tea, or whatever beverage service you're offering, can be poured and placed at each place setting

Dessert – in some cases, depending on the event, this can actually be beneficial if speakers, presentations or awards are following immediately after the food service.

Buffet Service

You’ve all seen these. Banquet tables, either grouped all together or, scattered about to create “food stations” and the guests actually go to those tables and are either served by wait staff, or, help themselves to whatever it is they want.  This service type does take up some floor space so the guests can move around the room and around and among the buffet tables.  Your caterer or venue can guide you on recommended placement of the buffet tables.

This is a more economical presentation, and depending on the event, can allow for a bit more guest interaction than a plated meal.  This is probably why food stations are so popular.  For a group of people that may or may not be familiar with each other, this is a great way to get people to mingle, and to entertain them.

With buffet service, there is a bit more control over the time it takes to feed your group.  We can calculate how many buffet lines are needed to serve your guests in the time frame you’ve provided and plan accordingly.

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Topics: special event catering, buffet tables, wedding catering, banquet, buffets, plated meals