Why Plated Dinner Service is Making a Comeback
As we slowly resurface from quarantine and events ramp back up, you’ll likely to notice a few differences in the way events are executed. One example we know is changing is buffets.
Health and safety are still on everyone’s mind.And although we all want a complete experience for our guests, it will be difficult for anyone to look at a buffet the same way - at least for the next several years. Why? We’ll get to that. We will also discuss how this shift will lead to more people opting for a plated dinner service; as well as how the choice between plated vs buffet will impact events and the changes to consider in designing tablescapes.
Doing Away with Buffets
Let’s first acknowledge that there is absolutely nothing wrong with opting for a buffet. There are plenty of reasons that you might consider or even prefer them.Buffets are less structured and for less formal events they have always been popular.They give guests control of the menu and portion sizes – no one comes away from your event experience as under-fed or disappointed in the options.But we are coming off an infectious pandemic and common portions mean more people pass by and handle the food. Buffets simply aren’t ideal and the first reason why is that some people may find that they signal a host may be ignoring the status of the last year all together.At present, some people are still unsure about variants, infection rates, personal risk and social distancing. And so a buffet, where people hover over the food and pass flatware to one another, and just touch more things may make some uncomfortable in the near term. Especially your guests. For this reason, everyone may notice a coming shift towards plated dinner services and hosts may find themselves facing a different type of event set up and design, especially when it comes to tables.
The Benefits of Plated Dinner Service
There are pros and cons to both buffets and a plated dinner service. However, the perception of a plated dinner service alone tends to make it more personal and that’s the second reason guest’s prefer them. It automatically increases the formality of your event as people tend to perceive a plated dinner as being luxurious. After all, the food of their preference is brought directly to them. And, typically, there is a waitstaff to attend to their needs and clear the setting between each course. This additional attention leaves people the impression that plated meals are a higher cost due to the added service.
For the host of an event, a plated dinner will improve the guest experience. Everyone will receive their meals at roughly the same time and that is the third reason guests prefer them. Concerns about when a table will be called or a guest missing out on a favorite dish or receiving tired portions before the new platters come from the kitchen all disappear. There is enough to go around for everyone and a host will also feel a sense of pride in the more efficient management of their reception. With the elimination of wait lines, the duration of a dinner service can easily be cut in half – the fourth reason platted is preferred.
Another perk, more relevant due to Covid, is that there is less opportunity for guests to interact with food portions other than their own. Before Covid-19, interaction would be encouraged and casual. Cocktail or lounge areas, bars and carving stations would create many points of interaction. But at present, areas that help guests limit their interaction with others (who aren’t in their immediate group) may make them feel safer. Which is the goal achieved with allowing them to remain mostly in their seats for dinner. Guests will also take comfort in the knowledge that a limited number of people have been exposed to their food portions – the fifth reason guests prefer plated.
And the sixth reason is that a plated dinner might save you money. Not technically a guest preference but certainly it qualifies as a compelling reason to go plated. Generally, the rule of thumb with the caterers is that plated requires less food (because only single portions are served) but there are higher costs for added labor to serve the group size.Buffet requires fewer attendants and staff but must consider that some guests will go back for seconds, so the caterer just assumes an added amount in the budget for extra food portions.No one looks good when the food runs out, least of all the caterer.So while your guests may want more than the standard serving size, when you serve plated, their extra appetite isn’t at your expense. There’s seldom a wedding that’s short on refreshments and theoretically the food is not the reason why people attend your event – they are there to celebrate you with you.The food is just your generous gift to them for the pleasure of their company.Plated can be controlled.
How to Elevate Your Tables
Undoubtedly one of the biggest perks of a plated dinner service is how it will impact your tables. A plated dinner differs from a buffet as it requires the table to be set for each course. A table for buffets usually begins with very little on it.This can make the first impression of the room a bit disappointing if your tables feature no serving ware. A plated dinner generally features all the flatware required for the evening as well as such decorative items as chargers, a dinner plate, perhaps a salad and dessert plate, napkins, flatware, wine and/or water goblets, and event coffee cups.
The best, and most fun, way to elevate your tables for a plated dinner is by carefully selecting your serving ware. Of course you want to compliment the formality, style, and/or theme of your event. But you want to lend some aesthetic appeal to the table as well. This can be achieved with a careful eye and attention to detail. Feature a mix of colors, textures and patterns. All white dinnerware is a classic, but it isn’t necessarily memorable! Rather, infuse eccentric details. For example, start with a textured charger and a solid colored dinner plate, topped with richly colored salad plates. The serving ware might be a metallic color or have a unique handle. For the glassware, consider antique-inspired colored glass or a collection with an odd shape. If necessary, consult with a design specialist or event planner.
With all of this stylish serving ware, however, your tables can begin to feel and look quite cluttered, and that’s without a centerpiece. To ensure that your tablescape is organized and stylish, consider a TableStars overlay. Available in an array of beautiful colors and designs, they make creating a striking tablescape a breeze, and for a considerably small investment. It’s a detail that every single guest will see and enjoy from up close and from a distance! Not only that, but it will ensure that your table is fully prepared for a plated dinner service, by creating a clear spot for every place setting. Lending a modern look that is both organized and inviting. Visit our website today to view the full catalog of Tablestar overlays, or feel free to contact us with any questions!