What Is the Correct Way to Set Up a Buffet Table?


A well-arranged buffet table is essential for a efficient and easy-to-serve meal. The arrangement of the table should flow easily from one dish to the next, making it quick and simple for guests to fill their plates.


  • Set plates at the beginning of the buffet table. If you are serving soup or chili, keep small bowls for this in front of the soup itself.


  • Begin the buffet with the main course. This should be followed by hot side items, cold side items and finally the salad. Desserts and drinks should be at the very end of the table. If possible, place desserts and beverages at their own separate stations with the appropriate dishware and utensils.


  • Set condiments next to the items for which they will be used, if they are included in the main buffet. Gravy should be set beside potatoes, salad dressings next to the salad, burger fixings just after the buns and patties and so forth. To speed up the line, place condiments at their own separate station.


  • Place silverware and napkins at the end of the buffet table so guests don't have to juggle these items while they fill their plates. To make it especially easy for guests to grab these items, bundle silverware in a cloth napkin.

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  • Photo Credit buffet image by Nath Photos from Fotolia.com
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