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  • January 21, 2017, 12:34:37 AM

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Author Topic: Buffet or Sit Down?  (Read 3386 times)

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greencat

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2016, 09:01:28 PM »
There's a charity dinner hosted by an organization (it's a $10ish donation, not hundreds of dollars) at my alma mater where you are randomly assigned to eat either nothing, a very simple meal (like a bowl of rice) or a plated dinner - and some people get initially assigned to one group but get moved partway through the event.  It's a hunger/poverty awareness event, and everyone knows in advance that they might not get anything.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2016, 09:11:53 PM »
This is way off topic now, but not only does the organization I donate time to (but not really because it makes me look good at work) not do a bait and switch, but the people they invite to these dinners know exactly what they are getting.  The rice dish was a known to be a raffle going in.  People knew that they might end up with the plate of rice if they read the program before they purchased their plates. Many of the big spenders not only do these things often and are used to it but at least 30% buy plates and don't even show up.  The point is the charity and possibly some people want publicity.

As I said, I have in the past volunteered in the planning (so none of the big plate money goes to me or my staff, although this year I was only an overseas consultant).  I completely understand why someone like myself or other people would be disappointed, but this is for people who not only can afford it but it is just about as much a dent in their budget as somebody's birthday and they are given exact details of what the event is going in. The other events like the high tea and the buffet are more for regulars like you and I (me?).

But the question has been resolved, so thanks for all your advice.

Good to know they told the guests upfront. If they knew what to expect, there was no bait and switch. Sorry if I missed or forgot a post along the way where you explained all that. I managed to leave my keys in the car while I went shopping - one of those kind of days.

I guess I was responding overall to the idea the OP put forward that people going to these events are donating, not paying for a meal. In short, they're doing both, IMHO.


SianMcClay

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2016, 09:49:16 AM »
Sorry Psychopoesie!  I didn't mean to sound snarky.  And I'm sorry about your day, that must have been such a bummer to leave the keys in the car.  I had one of those days too. New Bookkeepers in the office, it was like being audited again.  Hand me this document and that document and can you explain this item from 6 months ago.  And when I ask a question or tell them something, I get dead silence.
They are supposed to take direction from me :-\.  Nice guys once they get their head out of the numbers though, but frustrating.

Anyway, you have a point about paying for both the donation and the dinner.  That's kind of why I wanted to do the buffet, you pay that much it would be great to have a variety, and have the food actually be good, and you can come up for seconds of what you like the best.

I know other posters say they have had plated dinners at large functions and the food was good, but I've never experienced it.  I keep picturing a not quite but almost dry chicken breast, not bad but completely tasteless, a stick of asparagus, also tasteless and two little roasted potatoes.  That has been my usual plated dinner experience.  But it is, what it is.

Again, sorry if I sounded snarky, it was completely unintended.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2016, 05:54:51 PM »
All good, Sian.

Hoping my brain stays switched on today and I manage to hold onto my keys (and everything else).

Hope your bookkeepers get their heads out of the numbers for long enough to say hi. :)

lmyrs

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2017, 10:54:30 AM »
I'm with you Sian. I'd take a good quality buffet over a plated dinner every day if the week. The variety of items, the ability to choose what you want, (and don't want), and the general quality of the food has, in my experience, been better at buffets.

greencat

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2017, 05:19:50 PM »
The food at an expensive charity gala is miles away from catered school awards banquets, conference dinners, and even run-of-the-mill wedding catering.  Charity gala catering is often headed up by a name-brand chef around here, which is part of the advertising package that goes out to entice people to spend money on the charity event.

lmyrs

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2017, 12:15:19 PM »
The food at an expensive charity gala is miles away from catered school awards banquets, conference dinners, and even run-of-the-mill wedding catering.  Charity gala catering is often headed up by a name-brand chef around here, which is part of the advertising package that goes out to entice people to spend money on the charity event.

I've been to the multi-hundred/thousand dollar a plate charity dinners too. The buffets were still better. I'm not just talking about weddings.

There are two exceptions I can think of: both were the same wedding - rehearsal dinner and wedding dinner for about 40 people. Rehearsal was done by Mike Chiarello, plated and amazing and wedding was done by Thomas Keller's restaurant (I don't think Keller was actually cooking though). Both were incredible. But, since most of these large galas that I've attended have been for hundreds, not tens of people, I think it's just harder.

gellchom

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2017, 12:57:41 PM »
We go to lots of both types of events, and honestly the quality of the food is the same -- it depends on the caterer and menu much, much more than on whether it's buffet or plated.  Both can be great, and both can flop.

The formality level difference is much greater than any quality difference. 

As to practicality, you really need to consider the geography of the room, the number of guests and buffet tables (for buffet) or servers (for plated).  I've been to buffet-style events that were completely ruined because the buffet tables were too few and too poorly placed to be replenished without waiters cutting through guests.  In my experience, buffet works better for nibble menus or stations with lots of choices, but for a "regular" meal, plated or family style works at least as well, and plated is more formal. 

The type of event really does matter.  I don't mind standing in line with my friends or cousins (like at a wedding) as much as I would at a charity event where I might not know anyone.  And if I'm in an evening dress and heels, nibbles would be fine, but I won't much appreciate serving myself a dinner plate full of food and carrying it around.

All that said, buffet, family style, and plated all work, for both formal and informal events.  There's no one-size-fits-all "best" -- too many variables: type of event, guest list, type of food, number of guests, details of venue, and much more.  Yet another example of something not to decide in the abstract.  Consider all those factors, and discuss it with the caterer , and you will make a good choice.

jazzgirl205

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2017, 02:01:40 PM »
I'm going to be the voice of argument here.  Every white-tie event I have attended (including my wedding reception) has been heavy hors d'ouerves served buffet style.  Plated meals, OTOH, have always tasted institutional and, for some reason, buffets have not.  Guests can get what they want and skip what they don't.  I think buffets look much more festive because the food tables are usually highly decorated with ribbons, glitter, huge arrangements of flowers and ballons, and the food itself is placed artfully at different levels and variously shape dishes.  Buffets lend themselves to more of a party atmosphere because they allow people to mingle more instead of just the people at a single table.  Balls especially benefit from buffets.  Guest can grab a bite, go dancing, come back for another small plate, and dance off again.

Sophia

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2017, 03:59:40 PM »
I am very pro-buffet myself.  But, I have to admit, that for this crowd, sit down is probably best.  When I was in High School I worked in the suites of a major league baseball stadium.  There was a woman there frequently who had a gold necklace that been a gift of Nancy Reagan while she was first lady.  I'm old so this would have been during or just after the Reagan presidency.  She was upper-class, not Hollywood.  The woman brought a servant with her whose main task during the games was to go through the buffet line to get food.  I don't think someone like that would be amused to be expecting a sit-down and getting a buffet. 

Altarrose

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2017, 10:48:50 PM »
From what I read a few days back, the main consensus seems to be plated meals, but I really like the idea of family style. 

In all fairness this is probably because I am vegetarian, but this style worked out beautifully at my wedding. We all had appetizers during pictures, plated salads and breads and then platters of entrees and sides to choose from. It wasn't messy, *I* and other veg guests didn't have to pick around meat, sauces could be added as desired and portions were easily able to be regulated to various levels of appetite. Afterward, desserts again were plated. It was a nice set-up because it had the perks of a buffet without having to navigate across the room with a handful of plates.

Maria16

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Re: Buffet or Sit Down?
« Reply #41 on: Yesterday at 11:38:08 PM »
If it's a black tie affair with a program involved, then it's more practical to have a served dinner. Then you can have the speakers while folks eat and avoid the time involved with lining up for food. There's nothing improper about someone in a tux carrying a plate as many formal affairs have a cocktail hour with a buffet rather than passer hors d'oeuvres.