When setting up for buffet style dining, make sure you have a large enough table to fit all the food and silverware. Running out of space will become very frustrating for both you and your guests. If your kitchen is large enough, you can put the food in there. However, this can make the kitchen crowded and confusing as well, especially if there is other cooking and food items that need to be brought out from the kitchen.
Placing the table near the kitchen works, to bring out more food or replace food, but make sure that you leave a walk path to get in and out of the kitchen and you don't block other walkways throughout the home. Also, make sure that it is near plugs if you will be serving hot items in crock pots or warmers that need to be plugged in. Also, if the table is in good condition and clean, you may not need a table runner or table cloth. However, these are nice accents to add and will protect the table as well.
Once the table is placed, choose an end that will be the starting end of the buffet. Here you will place the plates, napkins, cups and silverware. You can use cups to place knives in one, spoons in another and forks in another. Have all items that guests will need at easy access. The appetizers, such as finger foods or salad should come next.
If you are serving make your own sandwiches, make sure all the condiments are right by the breads, meats and cheeses and other toppings. This goes as well for the appetizers and salad and like items. Dressing should be with the salads or condiments, such as dipping sauces should be with their food. Place chips in large bowls for easy access and fruits and vegetables should be on separate platters, so that the juices do not mix and run together. If you have serving platters with divided sections, these work well for fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses.
Hot items should be last and kept separate from cold items, so that food does not become warm. Have multiple serving spoons, ladle or forks so that the line does not get held up. Also, have places to place these items, such as on a plate or utensil holder so that they do not slip into the food or become too hot to touch from laying in the crock pot or warmer. Place warmers horizontal on the table so that you will save space and it will make it easier for your guests to serve themselves.
When it comes to party food, some of the top foods on the menu are sugary or high in trans fats. Here is a list of the top ten worst foods that should never appear at your party.
Candy buffet bars are a sweet addition to any occasion you can think of. Try mixing several varieties of candy, particularly chocolate sweets, and be sure to make the candy buffet a beautiful sight for hungry guests.