How to set up Buffet in hotel & home

How to set up buffet

Now days buffet is common word all over the world.

If you want to your celebration or wedding or anything goes a respectful manner so buffet is most important for this. Buffet may set up in a hotel or outside of the hotel.

So let’s get started, how to set up a buffet in hotel that can make you or your guest that make unforgettable experience.

First step is

Plan and design a buffet

Design the total concept, food items and display as required, in consultation with customers and other relevant personnel.

Design of buffet

Plan buffets according to the required theme or occasion, for example if you do birthday celebration so that kind of theme required. Or any program you can consultation with customers (in hotel) and other relevant personnel.

Select and organize an appropriate range and quantity of food items with consideration given to quality and price related to the enterprise and customer requirements.

Planning the seating arrangement

Pre planning of the space management should be done.


Proper space calculations on the basis of number of tables and chairs required and their style of arrangement should be decided. This also depends on the nature of the buffet and the number of guests.

Sitting arrangement in buffet

The arrangement would also depend upon the kind of service needed for that particular event.

And the number of guest served and attendant served items on the buffet.

Seating arrangements should be made to provide ease of service to the guest by the servers/attendants.

Factors to be considered while planning a buffet

Space provided and room configuration

this is one of the major factors that influence a setup. Limited space leads to limited creative techniques that could be used. For e.g. one has to limit breaking of the buffet accordingly.


A separate pre function area might also have to allotted or a separate section for the bar maybe using another room etc.

Allotted time for service period

the fastest way to speed up service is a straight line with access from both sides with the guests having full control over the portion size. Another way would be to setup identical buffets in multiple locations.

Number of guests

The set up for the buffet and the no. of chafing dishes, service cutlery required, the number of buffet stations required etc. are all determined by the no. of guests.

Type of buffet menu

This depends on whether you offer buffet menu is elaborate or limited choices are provided to the guest.

Whether it is a stand-up buffet or a sit down buffet which would have an exhaustive menu etc.

Live counter requirement

Such counter if they have to be set up come with their own set of requirements like power, gas, fire protection etc.

Also since everything is right in front of the guest hygiene plays a major role and proper waste management has to be carried out.


Guests’ requirements

Satisfaction of the guest and adherence to the needs of the guest is again one of the most important factors to be kept in mind.


This is of prime importance as to whether the buffet service is going to be set up within the premises of the hotel or is an outdoor event. If in the hotel the regular guidelines and checklist is followed whereas if outdoor a survey of the place has to be done, cutlery crockery.

Have to be varied out according to the requirements, proper holding compartments have to be taken, space has to be assigned for a satellite kitchen, enough fuel has to be carried etc.

Ratio of guest served to attendants serving food

Despite this service being a self-service, there might be dishes that might be served by the attendants.

Staffing conditions

Staff available also affects the set up. Less staff would lead to large size food serving containers, less space behind the container and less replenishment. The no of attendants also determines the no. of dishes that might be served by them.

Service standards required

Such a style of service requires attentive, courteous and effective service. A self service b/fast buffet requires less service as compared to an elaborate brunch buffet.

The service standards required depends upon the amount of table service required, desire of speed or leisure, beverage service, clearance, service of specialty food.

For example sit down buffet has part self service and part on the table, finger buffets would have complete self service.


Proximity of service to production

Under an ideal condition the kitchen should be at a minimum distance from the service area. The more the items are in the production area the longer the quality of the buffet table can be maintained on the buffet table.


Ease of guest service and attendant service

this can be done by providing proper service ware, crockery etc to the guest. Similarly reasonable space should be left behind the counter for personnel to stand and guide the guests through it.

Power needs

Power is needed for lighting, refrigeration, for electric burners, hot plates etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buffet

Larger variety of options to the guestless comfort for the guest
Value for money
No personalization of service
It is fast servicewastage of food
Lesser staff requiredIf employ casual labour, it could increase the labour cost
Good way to cut food costs if the pricing of the buffet is done aptlyNot compatible to serve few cuisines e.g. authentic Chinese food etc.
Larger no. of guests can be served at the same time
Not convenient while organizing a formal dinner

For more information about Buffet you can read this article 8 Different Types of Buffet

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