Correct Way to Set a Buffet

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Things You'll Need

  • Tablecloth

  • Plates

  • Wrapped silverware bundles

  • Foods (on platters, in bowls or in warming trays)

  • Spoon rests

  • Decorations to fit the theme of the buffet

Make an attractive buffet table to feed your guests.

When you are serving food buffet-style, presentation and convenience for your guests are two of your biggest concerns. Make a buffet table look attractive and inviting with the food dishes situated so that guests can see and reach everything. Placing food strategically on the buffet table is essential. With attention to detail, you can set a buffet table correctly and make it entice guests to fill up their plates with your delicious foods.


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Step 1

Position the table so that guests can walk all the way around the table to serve themselves from all sides.

Step 2

Cover the table with a tablecloth.

Step 3

Place a stack of plates at the end of the table where you wish guests to begin serving themselves.

Step 4

Arrange the food with the entree items placed where guests will come to them first. Place the foods so any foods or containers in higher trays or bowls are in the center of the table and foods in lower or flatter dishes are on the outer perimeter.


Step 5

Place the side dishes, salads and accompaniments after the entrees, also arranging these foods so the tallest food trays or bowls are in the center of the table so that guests can see everything easily.

Step 6

Set spoon rests, small plates or napkins near each food dish so guests will not place the serving spoons directly onto the tablecloth.

Step 7

Set the wrapped silverware bundles in a basket or shallow tray at the end of the table where guests can take a bundle after they finish serving themselves.


Step 8

Set the desserts at the end where guests will come to them last. Another option is to make a separate dessert table for guests to visit after they finish eating.

Step 9

Add decorations which support the theme of the event the buffet is laid out for around the table in bare spots to add color and a bit of interest to your buffet table, without detracting from the food.

Step 10

Stand back and look at the buffet table to make sure that the foods placed near each other complement each other. Try to make a visually pleasing arrangement with a variety of colors arranged evenly throughout the table.


Serve beverages separately from the buffet table, as your guests may have trouble carrying a beverage and their food.