I believe this is the option that people lean toward the most. Whether it be for the ease of menu selection or cost effectiveness. This is the option where people leave their seat and serve themselves the meal. The plate could either be at their place setting or at the buffet itself.
- Multiple food selections can be offered
- Number of servers can be drastically reduced
- Very casual type of meal
- Aides the interaction of guests
- Unable to control food portions
- Long lines depending upon number of guests
- Additional costs depending on food volume
- Guests having to maneuver multiple plates
With buffets, you are able to have multiple choices, however, if they choices are too good, it may cost you additional money in the end if people decide to make multi trips to the buffet or grab bigger portions.
The Seated/Plated Dinner
This option can be utilized for different events as well. With this option guests stay seated as their meal is brought out to them. In this scenario, there could either be preset salads or desserts with this option.
- Adds a more formal element
- Does not require additional venue space
- Portion control
- Caterers know exactly how much to prepare
- Limits dinner choices
- More wait staff will be needed which could increase bill
- Serving multiple courses could take time more time
This option could be very cost effective for you considering that you could limit what you serve, however, be aware of how your cost may increase due to the need of added staff to make sure your dinner is served efficiently.
Food stations have been used, although I don't believe they've been done quite as often as the above two choices. With stations, you are offering buffet elements without it being a "traditional" buffet style.
- Offers a variety of selections
- Eliminates line congestion
- Items can be grouped together
- Food themes can be easily organized
- Requires more venue space
- The amount of food can become expensive
- More chefs or staff will be needed to man the stations
- People may favor more options over others
This option can be used if you'd like to do a buffet style, but want to have more order to the chaos. It also can provide a hint of a more elegant feel that you may get with a plated dinner. With this, you also need to watch your cost.
Each option provides both pros and cons so when it's time to pick your menu, make sure you speak in depth with your cater so you will know what exactly will fit into your budget. It's their job to make the presentation look like how you want and that the food tastes great for your guests.