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Plated or Buffet: Which Is Better For Your Event?

Oct 31, 2019

Buffet style and plated dinners are the two main choices when planning a dinner at an event. The differences between the two are obvious, but which is best for your event?

We’re going to have a little competition between the two right now. Which choice wins?

Formal: Plated
This is the most obvious benefit of a plated dinner. While some people don’t think buffets are informal, most will agree that the plated version of dinner is a bit classier. Having waiters bring out already created dishes gives attendees less work and more time to relax, eat, and network.

Budget-Friendly: Tie
Although pricing varies with every catering company.  A good rule of thum is if you are hiring outside caterers, buffets can be much cheaper. Why? Because the wait staff is extremely minimal with buffets, so you’re basically paying for food and delivery. With inside catering, generally a buffet is more expensive because there’s more food with a larger variety so plated is the way to go.

Food Options: Buffet
Depending on the size of the event and your caterer, there’s the chance that the buffet style has many more options of meats and sides than the plated option. Even if the menu is exactly the same for both options, if you have a buffet, picky eaters have the choice to take a little more potatoes and less meat, or no meat at all and a whole lot of veggies. If you decide to go with a plated dinner, there might be three choices and you get what’s in that choice with little alterations available.

Networking: Tie
While buffets let everyone mingle with each other while they’re getting their food, people might just chat with their friends or coworkers, then sit with them out of convenience. The plated option is usually assigned seating, where strangers are pushed to network with each other. That’s why they both tie in the networking category.

According to my test, it’s a tie.

Do you have an opinion on which is the better choice?  Why?


  1. Joy Tuscherer

    Hello and thank you for your counsel, Plated service is necessary to accommodate those with disabilities and a gracious service for the elderly.

    If your event caters to families, you eliminate the eventual chaos of having children running around and back and forth to a buffet.

    Buffet food temperatures are not always monitored. Had raw chicken once, a little girl who stuck her finger in every salad dressing and then sucked on her finger and then tried the next one, etc.

    I use a cane so i have trouble navigating tables and chairs w/out my cane so i can carry a hot plate back to my seat.

  2. Melissa Inman

    Good points Joy, thanks for the comment.


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