There are a couple of factors you need to consider when creating a buffet style table setting. First, you need to make sure traffic flow is smooth.The main thing with a buffet is that you want to keep traffic flowing. The buffet style table setting must encourage the flow and not hinder it.
Consider these ideas for improving traffic flow and see pics below:
- round tables instead of long rectangular ones positioned close together but with space in between to navigate.
- keeping table setting essentials such as silverware easy to access and in more than one spot. There is nothing worse than having to butt in front of angry hungry people just to get a fork.
- include serving people at the buffet table so others put food on your plate and give you what you want. This eliminates picking and long pauses among some people who take too long to figure out what they want to eat or going backwards.
(To spare expense, instead of having every dish served by someone else, create a couple of stations (like a carving station) with servers so traffic ebbs and flows.)
Buffet style table setting design ideas
As you can see from the top pictures, a buffet table is part design and part functionality. The function is truly important. But so is the design (if not fun!)
Use accessories to promote the functionality of the buffet. French bicycles with birdcages and toile' lined baskets can hold food, napkins, silverware, and french bread. Make sure you vary heights to give it depth.
Any piece you use to design the buffet with could have some practical purpose also.
This display of glassware is nice looking and also functional. Be sure to include the display and the beginning and end of the buffet so no one has to backtrack to reach for a glass.