The buffet catering menu provides quick and easy service for any size of event. Flexibility is a huge benefit. By offering a well-balanced menu, you don’t have to worry if it will cover every guests’ preference. It’s also a smart budget choice when it comes to serving costs (fewer staff are needed for execution) and offers a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
Similar to the reception catering menu, the buffet catering menu can be suitable for any kind of event. It works great for internal corporate parties, casual weddings and family celebrations – like birthdays, anniversaries and showers. It can also work for bigger corporate events, networking events and expos, or for large events where different groups will be served at different times. Consider your audience and their comfort with the service as well as their expectations for the calibre of the event.
Buffet Catering Menu Setup
Your event can be formally seated at round or long tables, or you can offer soft seating, like loungey sofas and cocktail tables, depending on the items you select. The food can be served by waiters (perhaps if items are limited) or guests can serve themselves. A chef-attended carving station can be added for a special touch.
When setting the room, the plates should always be stacked on the buffet lines with the food. Although many planners think it’s a nice look to put plates on guest tables and announce that they should bring the plates with them to the buffet, many guests will miss the announcement or forget. On the other hand, the choice is yours whether to set the flatware at the place settings or wrap them in linen or paper napkins and stack them in a basket at the end of the buffet line.
Designing the Buffet Catering Menu
Mitigating long waits at the buffet line is paramount, especially with larger events. Set double-sided tables at multiple locations to get guests through quickly. Adding a game conducted by a humorous emcee–in which tables contend for their place in line–takes the edge off the wait.
You should carefully track guests’ food allergies and inform about the meals’ ingredients. The best way to do so is to print food signs that will be displayed right beside each item. If a guest has very specific dietary considerations, it may be best to request a separately prepared plate from the caterer.
Because buffet menus aim to satisfy a large number of tastes, it’s best to choose items that are generic, like chicken, salmon and roast beef. Stay away from eclectic items like lamb, game or shellfish unless your group is quite large and these are secondary options. Not everyone you invite will be a foodie!
The buffet menu grants the opportunity to offer a wide or limited number of items. Be careful not to offer too many choices with a smaller crowd, as this may mean you will run out of one item before all the guests are served. This is less of a worry with larger crowds, but could mean leftover food. A good balance of variety and quality should be discussed with the chef or sales rep prior to your selections.
How to offer variety with your buffet menu
Choose your proteins for the main dish:
- one meat
- one seafood
- one vegetarian item
Choose at least one salad:
- a leaf salad (Caesar or mixed greens)
- a grain salad (quinoa or bean)
- a chunky vegetable salad (Greek or potato)
Choose 2-3 side items:
- one or two types of vegetables
- a starch
Add a dessert display.
Alternatives to the Dinner Buffet Catering Menu
There are several alternatives to the Dinner Buffet Catering Menu, based on the event type, the allocated budget, the event facilities, table setup and number of guests. Please find several alternative menus below. Keep in mind that our catering experts are ready to assist you along the process of designing the menu for your event. Feel free to contact us at any point and we will be happy to help you!
Please check our Plated Dinner Catering Menu for a plated dinner setup. It may be a better option for events where guests are seated at the tables and when the number of guests is well known in advance. It can either minimize the food serving time or integrate the food serving into the event’s agenda (e.g. Fundraising Dinner).
Also check our Reception Catering Menu if you prefer the food to be served on platters or chef stations. It may be a better option for events where sitting options are limited or when the number of guests is flexible. It may also work better for events in which the food is complementary to the agenda (e.g. hors d’oeuvres during a networking event) or serves as a cocktail hour preceding a formal dinner.
Additionally, we are proud to offer one of the top quality BBQ catering services in Calgary through our Rare Cut division. Check the amazing BBQ Catering Menu selection and prepare for a most-entertaining and unique culinary show!