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Module 12: Banqueting

There are many types of banquets, and each involves planning and preparation. Here are the 3 main categories, their benefits and challenges.

1. Buffet

1. Buffet

A type of banquet where guests serve themselves from various dishes displayed on a table or sideboard. Buffets are pre-set and are often less formal than sit down meals.

Benefits

  • Easier to prepare in terms of plating and serving.
  • Service staff need only worry about a few things (e.g. dishing out, serving drinks, refilling and maintaining cleanliness).
  • Food presentation is standard.
  • Easier to maintain the right temperature for dishes.

Challenges

  • Forecasting portions can be challenging.
  • Presenting food in chafing dishes can be challenging.
  • Food safety can be an issue.
  • Carryover cooking in chafing dishes can lead to overcooking.

2. Sit down

2. Sit down

Guests at sit down banquets have their food served directly to them. Dishes are often pre-selected and sit down banquets are often more elegant than buffets since guests are not required to get the food for themselves.

Benefits

  • Guests feel more special since they are served directly.
  • Forecasting and portioning are more accurate.
  • Bottom line is relatively easier to estimate.

Challenges

  • Requires skilled staff familiar with service sequence and proper preparation.
  • More time-consuming than buffets because of pre-plating.
  • Serving pre-cooked food fresh and at the right temperature can be challenging.
  • Large kitchen equipment required.


3. Chinese banquet

3. Chinese banquet

Often held to celebrate Chinese New Year, Moon Festival and weddings, Chinese banquets are elaborate affairs with a rich history and tradition surrounding them. They typically consist of at least 12 dishes served over a few hours, and each dish has a special meaning.

Benefits

  • Guests feel more special because they are served directly.
  • Forecasting and portioning are more accurate.
  • Bottom line is easier to estimate.

Challenges

  • Skilled staff are required to serve and portion communal dishes.
  • Operators must be very familiar with the number of meals and drinks, presentation and sequence of the dishes as each dish must properly communicate the host’s good wishes and the joy of the celebration.
  • Requires more tableware than Western set-menu dishes.

 

Onsite and offsite banquet catering

Whether you’re organising a buffet, sit down or Chinese banquet, take a look at the comparisons of onsite and offsite catering.

Onsite catering

  • Uses in-house equipment.
  • No set-up required.
  • No extra manpower needed.
  • Familiar, controlled environment with known food safety considerations.

Offsite catering

  • Complex logistics required to transport and set-up.
  • Requires more manpower for set-up.
  • Higher logistical costs.
  • Unfamiliar cooking environment with higher food safety risks.
  • Relatively higher profit margin (extra costs and services are covered by client).

Congratulations, you’ve completed the 3 Popular Banquet Types, Their Benefits and Challenges topic!

Continue on to the next topic, pick a related topic from the Banqueting module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.

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