What to Consider When Purchasing Serving/Buffet Equipment

There can be many aspects to serving/buffet equipment, depending on the application and design. Operators need to consider the aesthetics of the front of the house as well as back of the house support to ensure menu flexibilities are accommodated.

Here, Rick Sevieri, president of RJS Barber Associates, Old Lyme, Conn., provides further insight into what operators should consider when purchasing this equipment.

  • Operators need to determine how they will use the serving/buffet equipment. Will this be for a specific function or a permanent fixture in a restaurant? If it’s the latter, a mixture of portable and permanent units may be appropriate. This can accommodate various dayparts and menu items, while also incorporating action stations.
  • For multiple functions, flexibility with tables and designs as well as cooking stations may become the best option. This can include raw bars, action stations, chafing dishes, carving stations, soup bar, hot and cold stations, and a dessert bar. A carved ice feature also will have specific requirements.
  • The number of stations necessary depends
    on the expected volume, price point and menu offerings.
  • Along with style, it’s important to consider electrical power needs.
  • Buffet action stations need to be up to local codes.
  • Transporting product from the main or production kitchen out to the buffet is a factor. For this reason, transport and holding equipment, including hot boxes and transport carts, may be needed.
  • Aesthetics are important for buffet lines today. Tables can come in various colors, grains and designs to fit in with a theme or color scheme. These also can be skirted, covered with tablecloths or disguised as furniture for an upscale appearance.
  • Although one flat table is most common, tiering
    or building it up can create more interesting food presentations.
  • Tables that fold and can be easily stored are best for buffets that are not permanent or ever changing, as long as storage space is available.