08 October 2010

Types of Meal Service

You’ve reserved the function room, booked a caterer, selected your menu, and decided between open and reserve seating. There is still one more important decision you to make about your event meal: How do you want it served? There are many different types of meal services, and each one can bring a different feel to your party or special event. Below I explain the most common options, so that you can choose the one that is right for you.

Buffet - A buffet is typically a long table with lavish displays of food. Guests make their way down the line to pick and choose from an a la carte-style menu. Buffets are versatile and work for many cuisine styles. Guests appreciate the variety a buffet offers, and even finicky eaters can find something to nibble on. While this is a less formal service style, a well-planned buffet meal can still be elegant depending on the dishes you serve.

Stations - Stations offer different foods grouped by course, cuisine or a theme at individual tables spaced throughout the reception area. People can sample a variety of different foods, and it allows guests to socialize as they move around the room. Stations can be self-served like a buffet, but chef-manned stations add more sizzle to the party.

Family Style - Family-style service is a casual dining approach. Waiters bring platters and bowls of food to the table for guests to share and pass amongst themselves. People looking to break from a traditional formal reception love the friendly and interactive atmosphere of this service style. Comfort foods are a natural fit for family service.

American or Plated - Plates are assembled in the kitchen and delivered to the table in a parade of courses. Side dishes are used for bread and butter and salad. Plated service offers less variety, so design a meal with broad appeal or offer multiple entrée choices. Be sure to offer foods with a variety of different colors, sizes, flavors and textures.

French - French service is unique in that the final meal preparation takes place tableside. Food is partially prepared in the kitchen and then finished on stands next to the dining table. Servers might mix and dress salads, or carve and sauce meats, and then prepare the plates for serving. The elegance of this style makes guests feel especially pampered.

Russian - Russian service is a seated style that’s highly personal and attentive. Guests feel like honored royalty as waiters bring platters of food to the table and serve them individually. Everything should be easy to serve, and pre-portioned items are always a safe bet. Russian service requires ample table space to keep guests from feeling cramped.

Butler Service - If the traditional sit-down reception isn’t your style, consider a swanky cocktail party with butler service. Food is passed on trays and guests simply help themselves. The unstructured, roaming format makes this style of eating relaxed and fun. Butler service is also ideal for venues where table seating won’t work. Just set up a few standing tables and several clusters of chairs and let your guests move about as they please. Plan on serving a heavy spread of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres so guests will be well fed.
Source : http://www.coldspringevents.com

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