Ramadan brings around diners seeking variety of options for Iftar while also managing their budgets. We see a rise in demand for buffets which have become a tradition for this festive season. High demand and expectations also mean high profit potential for restaurants and hotels. However, preparing for banquets and buffets can be stressful for chefs – they have to plan a great menu, meet diners’ expectations, and strike that fine balance between having enough food for serving and wasting too much food due to inaccurate estimates.
Therefore, we’ve spoken to some of the industry’s top chefs and put together a list of 4 recommendations they provided regarding planning, preparing and successfully running outstanding banquets and buffets.
Banquets and buffets involve a lot of group movement. In a banquet setting, you need to think about guests who are mingling with one another as service is in process.
Meanwhile, at buffets, you know that diners will be busy shuffling around the floor, selecting their favorite items from buffet stations at different locations in the dining area.
As a restauranteur, you need to plan how your diners will move around. Some questions you may want to address include:
Is there a logical flow to my buffet lines?
With effective planning, you can avoid many potential service-related issues and deliver first class service to diners.
At buffets, you will notice long queues at the drinks station. Filling up a beverage cup takes time and queues form quickly. To avoid this issue, place drinks on a separate table away from where you set out the food. Better yet, prepare your drinks and place them in glasses so diners can simply pick them up and go.
A similar issue can occur at banquets. When it gets busy, servers with drinks may get in the way of others carrying food. To avoid this situation, set up a different area in your kitchen for making drinks. This simple arrangement will allow your servers to move around freely.
Be sure that there are plenty of napkins around and are always within easy reach. At a banquet, keep extra napkins handy at side-serving tables whereas at buffets, put out large stacks of napkins at the end of food stations. This makes it easier for guests to grab extras if they need to clean something up.
If there’s one common problem in buffet setup (especially catering lines) that needs to be addressed, it’s this – placing cutlery at the start of the food station. There’s simply no reason to ask diners to balance their cutlery on their plates as they help themselves to the lavish buffet. After all, diners are there to enjoy delicious food.
Hence, we recommend allowing diners to fill up their plates with food, and then pick up their cutlery at the end of the line. Your diners and service staff will appreciate this simple but important gesture.
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