One of the earliest conversations we have with our clients is whether they want a buffet or a sit down service for their event. With the largest single budget item for most events being the cost of food and beverage, it is a decision that affects both style and budget. Here are some considerations for each type of event catering:
Pros: If you want to make the menu more diverse, a variety of food stations will do the trick. Guests will select exactly what they want to eat and will have a chance to mingle during service. Buffets can be elegant but are considered less formal. They may or may not cost less than a service meal.
Cons: Anytime you mix alcohol, a buffet and guests, the chance of a spill increases. Poorly designed or inadequately sized stations can result in long lines. It is hard to Guests at the buffet can be disruptive during speeches.
Pros: With little to no risk of guests going to the buffet during a first dance or toast, service meals help manage the flow of the event. Matching meals to the final guest head count means you likely won’t run out of food. Since guests don’t have to leave their tables, it’s less work for them and gives them more time to talk at their tables. Lastly, service meals are typically very elegant.
Cons: Success of the event weighs heavily on the wait staff. Also, you’ll have to send out meal cards in advance to get guest preferences.