Your guide to buffet-style event catering

We've helped 139 customers host buffet-style events in the past year.

Planning checklist

Prepare for success by getting started now.
2 months before: Choose site and decor
  • Decide if you want to throw a formal, casual, or semi-formal affair. Pick food that complements your preferences.
  • Understand the rules for using a caterer at the site of your event. Some sites only permit caterers that they collaborate with.
  • Find a caterer for your event. When selecting a drop-off caterer, make sure to understand the timeline and procedures for dropping off your food.
  • Inquire when the food will be dropped off, what serving supplies are provided and whether or not the caterer offers post-event cleanup.
  • Determine how much you can afford to spend. Once you have a figure, calculate the amount that you can spend per person on the meal.
  • Decide if you want to serve the food sit-down style or if you prefer to have a buffet.
1 month before: Sign contracts, plan meals
  • Take note as to when the final payment is due and when your caterer needs a final count on the number of guests.
  • Make sure to understand your caterer's cancellation policy.
  • Ask your caterer if any event items are available to rent. Some may permit you to rent linens, dinnerware and event decorations.
  • Pick the menu for your event. Items to consider include appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages.
  • Make sure that the menu satisfies possible dietary restrictions for your guests. Include vegetarian fare and gluten-free items.
3 weeks before: Hire additional help
  • Wait staff and individuals to assist with set up and cleanup are options that you may find helpful to have on hand.
1 week before: Finalize details
  • Confirm accurate number of event attendees and send to caterer.
  • Confirm arrival time and set up details with caterer and the event venue.

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