How to Set Up a Buffet Table at a Party With Chafing Dishes

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Keep food separate when organizing a buffet table.

Chafing dishes are tools used to keep food warm after it has been cooked. Place them on a buffet table so your guests can serve themselves hot food even when they come back for seconds or thirds. It is important to arrange a buffet table in a manner that is easy for guests to access. Chafing tables should be easy to reach and in a logical order. For example, many guests prefer to start a meal with a cool salad before having the hot food. Group dishes that go with the hot food, such as buns, near the chafing tables.


Step 1

Center chafing dishes in the middle of the buffet table, and put the other dishes in a circle around the chafing dishes. This works best on a wide table with plenty of room. Add a block to the center of the table to elevate the chafing dishes if desired.

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Step 2

Organize the food on the table so that the hot food, including chafing dishes, is at one end and the cool food is at the other. This helps guests choose food in the order that they want to eat it. For example, if a guests wants to eat salad first, they can get the salad ingredients at the far and then get the hot food after.


Step 3

Add a small table at the end of the main buffet table so it forms a "T" shape. Put the chafing dishes on this table. This gives the chafing dishes more room and also allows you to slide any cords between the two tables and out of the way. Use the extra table if you have a lot of food or large chafing dishes.


Make sure your table arrangement allows you to plug in any electrical cords without having the cord underfoot.

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