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Rate of buffet service

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
How fast do people travel through a buffet line? Is there a factor or a rule of thumb? Or, How many people per hour can be served in a continous line with a 4 item app/salad table moving on to a 6 item hot table?

Thought I would add a little info to my question. A local restaurant family is having a wedding, our kids are friends since gradeschool, they family still has limited english. I offered to supervise the servers and buffet so they could enjoy the family event. 2 cooks from their restaurant (no english) will produce food, I'll take it from there. I've never done much buffet, and it has only been for 100+/-, in my own place. They don't do any volume this way either.
The rented facility has a great kitchen one salad buffet and hot table, we can get two lines though. I think we may need to set up another line.

I think expecting a person through each line every 1 minute is long, but I think 2 through the line a minute or every 30 seconds is optimistic. My gut feel is that for 350+ people, one 2 sided buffet is not enough, that another buffet is required.
post #2 of 4
I have no idea, but am looking forward to expert answers. I do know I tend to diddle around a little but am always sensitive to the people behind me. I have no wish to be killed in the press of bodies. People seem to get a little excited sometimes, like everything is going to disappear or something.
post #3 of 4
I'm a caterer who does buffets quite frequently for 500+ and our rule of thumb is we to one double sided buffet for every 150 ppl with one beverage station for every 50 ppl. It takes about 20-30 minutes to serve everybody once and about 5% will come back for seconds. We also preset our desserts, napkins and silver on the tables to increase speed. If you are going to have multiple buffets space them out accordingly. Usually opposite ends of the room and have certain staff members assigned to replenish food, and others to clear plates

Sometimes space limitations prevent us from using more than one buffet, in that case we will number tables and instruct the host to make announcements letting certain tables go though at a time. This prevents long lines in your banquet hall.

Hoped I helped
post #4 of 4
We attended a wedding recently that did the buffet from a large round table , with tiers in the centre. The meats table was on the way out the door, and had a server. We went table by table, about 80 people and it worked very well.
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