This was the first blog I ever wrote and thought everyone might enjoy it. I look forward to contributing and sharing new ideas and concepts to the site.
Having served thousands of buffets over the years, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on the subject. I am actually a fan of buffets. When executed properly, a buffet can be a great way to experience new foods while meeting a wide range of guest preferences.
I still remember my first Vegas buffet. I was like a kid in a candy store; my eyes wide open with amazement as I perused the multitude of high quality offerings systematically laid atop shaved ice with razor sharp edges. Quality, variety, and value had all been packaged into a memorable and exciting dining experience. I bragged for weeks to my fellow chefs, friends, and anyone else who would listen about what I had experienced.
Soon after my Vegas trip, I took my first cruise and found myself once again excited about what I had discovered. Nonstop all day gorging on creative, well-prepared, professionally cooked foods was too good to be true. I am not sure if it was an anomaly or sheer luck, maybe all the stars had lined up correctly or the Chef was just that good. Whatever the circumstance, I was once again impressed.
On recent trips, I have found evidence of a reduction in quality, variety, and service. In most cases, attempts to be creative and interesting often failed, leaving me disappointed and hesitant to dive in with both feet as I had done before.
If you serve buffets, I would like to suggest the following:
Serve the same quality foods that you would in your a la carte restaurants. If you trust your purveyors, take advantage of high-quality overstock push list items to save big bucks.
Treat a chafing dish the same as you would a plate with all the same basic components. You wouldn’t just throw food on a plate; you shouldn’t do it here. Take the time to plan and properly lay out your chafing pans.
Use real sauces with appropriate accompaniments and functional garnishing. At our hotel, we utilize the same natural reduction sauces on all foods; our food and style do not change with the service.
Keep it cold or hot, clean and fresh; change pans and utensils frequently.
Utilize as many action stations and bars as you can. People love to have the ability to customize their choices.
Offer paired specialty cocktails, both alcohol-based and mock, along with wines and beers.
Utilize props to create an appropriately themed atmosphere.
Don’t sacrifice service; staff appropriately in all areas.