The One Buffet Mistake Almost Everyone Makes

updated Nov 6, 2019
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It’s potluck season! Fall and winter bring school parties, office Friendsgiving, and all the other holiday buffets. Chances are you’ll be sidling up to a long table covered with casseroles sometime soon. And if you’re the one setting up that table, I have one important reminder for you. This is the tiniest of tips for any potluck or buffet and it is so easy to fix, but somehow it is still so common and that drives me a little bonkers.

Ready? So easy.

Put the silverware, napkins, and cups at the end of the buffet line, not the beginning.

It’s a simple tip, but one that makes a difference. The only thing that should go at the front of your buffet line or table is the plates. People pick up a plate, then serve food on it. That’s it. Don’t make them pick up anything else.

But this is a rule I feel that almost no one remembers! How many times have you juggled a napkin and a clutch of plastic flatware while trying to scoop up some mac and cheese? Or sat down with a full plate, patted about for your fork and knife, only to realize you missed it at the front of the buffet line?

Put that cutlery and the stack of napkins at the end of the line, where people can grab them without worrying about dropping a plate or slowing down the line.

Better yet, if you’re setting up seating and tables for your buffet or potluck party, put the flatware on the tables themselves, laid out in place settings or bundled in Mason jars, handles up. Bonus: It will make your line move smoother and faster.

What are your best tips for successful buffets and potluck party flow?

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