The word buffet is French in origin and represents a sideboard/refreshment table. The colloquial term in English means self-service from a side table. Buffet may also be defined as a type of food service where guests pay a set amount and select from a range of food items often self-service. A wide range of dishes and the option of unlimited portions make the buffet style of service popular.

All buffets generally include a combination of the following:

  1. A creative, innovative and centralized idea or theme.
  2. Stylized preparation of food in volume.
  3. Showmanship and flair.
  4. Unusual table settings and configurations.

The creative, innovative and centralized theme must be conveyed through buffet presentation. Creative refers to something unusual, unique produced by imaginative thought of chef in an artistic way, while being innovative refers to incorporating new ideas by making changes in the style of presentation of food. The centralized theme refers to concept or topic which is used to unify special event.

An appealing presentation of food is very significant for buffet. A stylized presentation can be created by keeping in mind various factors like colour, taste, texture, garnish and method of preparation, etc.

Showmanship refers to carving and portioning of food by chef in an artistic manner and flaring at bar (jugglery) action of service staff.

The size and shape of table can add to the mood of the meal. However, table settings and configurations must satisfy operational aspect like ease of service from buffet from waiter and guest point of view.


There are various types of buffet which may be Restaurant buffet, Bruch buffet, Fork buffet or Standing buffet or Occasion buffet, Sit down buffet or Formal buffet, Finger buffet, Display buffet, Regional ethnic buffet, etc.

  1. Restaurant buffet: Eating out in restaurant particularly of hotels was not as popular as today, therefore, besides À la carte menu a lavish spread of buffet reasonably priced to attract customer who would enjoy a sumptuous meal particularly budgeted amount which makes it economical was established or started.
  2. Brunch buffet: The brunch buffet comprises standard breakfast and lunch dishes. There is an array of hot and cold dishes of breakfast and lunch. It may have breakfast dishes starting from juice, fresh fruits, cereals with milk, eggs to order, variety of breads, etc. the lunch items may have cold sections i.e. meat, galantine, canapé with variety of hot meat, vegetable dishes with selection of desserts.
  3. Fork buffet or Standing buffet or Occasion buffet: The fork buffet is the one in which the guest is offered a meal which can be easily eaten with fork while standing and holding a plate. This type of buffet is most suited for occasion like wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc. as one is able to accommodate more guests in less space.
  4. Sit down buffet or Formal buffet: In this type of buffet, tables and chairs laid out with cover are provided. The guests help themselves for the food while service may be done only for tea or coffee.
  5. Finger buffet: The finger buffet is the one in which bite size foods are offered for which no cutlery is required. The guests are provided fancy cocktail sticks to pick the food which they can place in the paper napkin. The main objective of this type of buffet is to allow conversation and provide informal relaxed atmosphere. These are particularly useful in pre-lunch or pre-dinner cocktails.
  6. Display buffet: These buffet presents one particular item which may be house signature item, house dessert or a certain wine. The concept is to promote that particular item.
  7. Regional and Ethnic buffet: This is the one in which foods of a particular region are offered.


  1. Selection of room: The size of the room is of vital importance. In a comfortable buffet arrangement setting with large number of dishes spread out nine (9) square feet per person is allocated, whereas when the buffet is in the restaurant with tables laid out 20 sq. ft. per person is allocated.
  2. Number of service points: For ten items more than 25 pax, there should be second point and beyond 75 pax third point is desirable. In other words progressively larger number should be catered from single point, otherwise tables will occupy more space than vacant space for the guest. This also depends upon the length available in the room and total space available.
  3. Types, Sizes and Shapes of the tables: Ideally buffet tables are folding i.e. 3ft. by 6ft. with a baize cloth stuck on them. The height should be adjustable. They should of such material that under pressure table should not budge. There are several other types of tables apart from rectangular, e.g. oval, circular, etc.

Buffet is neither the best nor the most desirable in term of service because the basic idea of service is lost. The cold food tends to become hot and hot food cold. There are frequent chances of accidents particularly during rush hour.

There is a lot of wastage. In earlier years the concept of buffet was hot to cold. However, nowadays the concept has changed, there is a separate counter for hors d’œuvres or salads. There are special live counters for items like kebabs, barbecue, etc.


  1. Barbecue equipments (Grills, Sigri).
  2. Basket (bread, wine).
  3. Bread knives.
  4. Buffet tables.
  5. Cake/pastry stands.
  6. Chafing dish.
  7. Ice bins for storing ice.
  8. Ice cream scoops.
  9. Ladles.
  10. Linen.
  11. Service spoons and forks.
  12. Soup turin.
  13. Salvers.
  14. Trays.
  15. Various type of tongs – Sandwich, Pastry, Ice and Sugar.
  16. Wine cradle.
  17. Wine chiller.
  18. Blender.
  19. Peg measure.
  20. Waiters kit.
Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

Latest Articles


Energy conservation measures for Hotel Industry DO’S AND DONT’S FOOD &...

Organization of Banquet Department

Banquet organization structure             ...

Types of Meringues

There are three types of meringue; their differences lie...

Additives and preservatives used in Ice-cream manufacture

 As ice creams move down the scale from premium,...

Ice Sculptures

Ice Sculptures The Ice sculpture is the highlight of any...

Function of menu

Menu is a very important tool for the operation...

Related Articles


Energy conservation measures for Hotel Industry DO’S AND DONT’S FOOD & BEVERAGE DEPARTMENT This department consumes approximately 25% of the total energy cost so the opportunities to...

Organization of Banquet Department

Banquet organization structure             ...

Types of Meringues

There are three types of meringue; their differences lie in when and how the sugar is added: French Meringue This uncooked meringue is the one most...