While we love a small intimate family style event, we are often called upon to create large and stylish corporate buffets for 300 guests or more. The challenges and solutions are quite different for a small or large gathering. Whereas the food quality remains comparable, ease of serving efficiently becomes more important in a large buffet situation. Also, we oftentimes don’t have full seating for guests so that standing reception style while enjoying “substantial snacks which take the place of dinner” is important. In addition, at business events, guests are often all arriving at one time and so speed of handling a large crowd easily becomes extremely important.
Here are some tips that have worked well for us at Entertaining Company:
- Keep it Simple
We capture the attention of guests and move guests along with streamlined buffets. Having fewer buffet options is sometimes more of an impact as guests are not deciding among too many options and becoming overwhelmed with choices. It’s important that guests can easily scan the offerings, so ideally we would have four to five main items on each large format buffet along with condiments.
- Make Buffets Easy to Locate
In a sea of guests, making buffets easy to find is obvious but sometimes overlooked. We especially enjoy stacking buffet items to create an eye catching design element and most importantly, guests do not roam around the room wondering where the food is. Easy and delicious is our best party trick!
- Choosing Menu Items Strategically
As much as possible we eliminate the need for unnecessary, not to mention, expensive, flatware. It would be rare that any of our buffets require a knife to enjoy the meal. We always plan to have menu items which are easy to pick up with fingers or tongs or in individual containers. Hearty meat and vegetable skewers customized with beef, lamb, chicken or vegetarian along with dipping sauces are some of our favorite items for feeding hungry reception goers during dinner time. To further customize our offerings, we have varying styles of skewers from rustic wood to polished metals. We like to “containerize” items which could be messy otherwise such as ceviche or chopped salad.
- Name It
Today, with many guests having special dietary requirements, labeling becomes important. Items containing nuts, or vegan, GF, and dairy free items are often called out on individual cards. Moreover, having tray garnish that highlights the type of food that is on the tray, is another way we encourage enjoyment when speed is of the essence!
We look forward to seeing you at your next large – or small – event! Cheers.