1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Restaurant Buffet

Different Types of Restaurant Buffets

By

Dessert buffet at island resort restaurant
Caroline von Tuempling/ Iconica/ Getty Images
Orginating in 16th Centrury France, buffet dining has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular choice for many restaurant customers. By definition, a buffet is a meal where guests serve themselves from a variety of dishes set out on a table or sideboard (from Food Lover’s Companion). Today there are many restaurant concepts centered around a buffet theme. Buffets are also served on special occasions or as restaurant promotions. And restaurants who offer catering services use buffets as an efficient way to feed a large number of guests.

All You Can Eat Buffet

Just as the name implies, this type of buffet offers guests the most bang for their buck. Typically customers pay one price and serve themselves from different stations, ranging from hot items, a salad bar, and dessert station. Many restaurants, like Old Country Buffet or HomeTown Buffet, offer this type of service.

Cafeteria Style Buffet[

Less prevalent in restaurants is the cafeteria style buffet. In this type of restaurant buffet, customers select plates of food as they pass through a line. They might take a plate with a pre-made sandwich, a plate with a dessert and cup of soup, for example.

Special Occasion Buffets

Many restaurants will offer a buffet as a restaurant promotion or for special occasions. For example, as a restaurant promotion, a restaurant might offer a special seafood buffet on the first Friday of every month. Or they might offer a special Mother’s Day brunch buffet in lieu of a regular menu.

Catered Buffets

Restaurants who offer catering services use buffets to feed large groups of people, quickly and efficiently. Weddings, business meetings, holiday parties are all ideal situations for a catered buffet. Restaurants can also provide catered buffets off-site, expanding their business further.

Benefits of Restaurant Buffets

The most obvious benefit of a restaurant buffet is that you can feed a large quantity of people with minimal amount of staff. This is great for payroll. It also allows you to rotate the food in the restaurant kitchen faster. Buffets as special promotions can draw in customers on a budget, who may not normally dine out at your restaurant. And a buffet offers a great way to cut food costs and increase profit margins, so long as you understand how to price your buffet menu.

Drawbacks of Restaurant Buffets

While you save on payroll, the price for a buffet, even an all-you-can-eat deal, is typically less than a traditional sit-down dinner. Buffets also require a great deal of upkeep, to maintain food safety as well as ascethics. Servers or kitchen staff should be continually checking the buffet to make sure that containers are refilled and the buffet itself is neat and clean, as well as that the proper temperatures for both hot and cold food.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.