24 Mar

Stations vs Buffets: What is the Difference?

Among the many decisions you’ll make when planning your next event is the choice of food service style. The most popular option is a plated service – mostly for its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, not every event wants the formality of a plated service. With that in mind, there are two options: a single table buffet or food stations. Here is what makes them different:

A single table buffet is exactly as it sounds: one long table with a variety of items for your guests to enjoy. In most cases, guests will help themselves to both their cutlery and plate, then serve themselves throughout the line. While this is the most casual meal service style, it’s important to remember that with the increased amount of food there will be increased costs. Surprisingly, there are a few popular myths about buffets that are simply not true.

Food stations, on the other hand, means that instead of one long table to move along, food tables are set around the room and encourages a more social dining experience. The benefit of choosing food stations over a single-table buffet is that it allows for less congestion and mobility. This is exceptionally useful for large parties (in fact we just catered a stations part for 1200 this past week!). Sometimes with food stations, the client will choose to incorporate chef action stations that bring an element of interactivity to the dining experience. For example this could be a carving station or a pasta action station, and the food is prepared live. The fun thing about food stations, too, is that you can completely customize it to your taste and offer your guests more variety than a traditional plated dinner service or buffet.

So at the end of the day which is better? It is a matter of preference. When choosing the style of service for your event it’s important to take into account the following:

Each of these is a contributing factor in helping you make your decision. While we love the elegance and service that comes with a plated meal, food stations tend to be very fun with their variety of options. For example, each of our food stations features around 5-6 different items based around a theme such as steakhouse, Asian cuisine, or German biergarten cuisine.

Salads & Platters Station


Pasta Station with live action chef, preparing and plating guests’ custom orders


Biergarten Station: Red cabbage cole slaw; warm german potato salad; flammkuchen flatbread with caramelized onions, crispy bacon, gruyere cheese, chive crème fraiche; brats on a stick, whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, hoagie rolls; apple strudel, cinnamon caramel dipping sauce

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