Summer Entertaining: 3 Tips for the Best Buffet Layout

Los Angeles Times

Summer entertaining means a lot of casual buffet-style meals, but setting a buffet table requires the same thoughtfulness that goes into a plated dinner.

Last week the LA Times Test Kitchen shared some tips on how to set up a buffet table in a way that benefits both guests and hosts, using what they call "buffet psychology 101."

Here are their tips for minimizing pile-up and maximizing enjoyment at the buffet table:

1. Create a definite beginning and end to the table. Use the plates, napkins and utensils to mark the start of the buffet line, so guests can flow down the table in an orderly way.

2. To minimize waste, use smaller plates. People tend to fill their plates, so smaller plates mean smaller portions and less likelihood that guests will take more than they can eat. Those who didn't get enough the first time around can always go back for seconds.

3. Place the big ticket foods at the end of the buffet. Foods that are served in greater quantity, like salad and bread, should be placed toward the beginning of the buffet, while the more expensive foods that are served in smaller amounts, like meat or fish, should be closer to the end, where guests are less likely to overfill their plates.

Read the article: L.A. Times Test Kitchen tips: Buffet psychology 101

What are your tips for organizing a better buffet table?

Related: How To: Arrange a Buffet Table

(Image: Flickr member Chris g Collison licensed under Creative Commons)