Banquet Service: Standards, Types & Definition

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  • 0:00 What Is Banquet Service?
  • 1:07 Banquet Types
  • 4:00 Banquet Standards
  • 5:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Banquet service can be as varied as the event you're attending. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the different types of service, as well as industry standards for hosting a successful banquet.

What Is Banquet Service?

There are many ways to dine outside the home: restaurants, cafeterias, fast-food chains, concession stands at ballparks, even gas station food stops. In all likelihood, you've probably also encountered a conference, meeting, or event, such as a wedding, with food service available to attendees. Most frequently, these types of events are classified as banquet service.

A banquet service is typically nothing more than a more elaborate meal due to the scope of the event or size of the crowd present. Logistically, since you can't squeeze a conference room full of people around a standard dining room table, banquet service fits the bill.

Banquet service can be as varied as the style of the event and, usually, the type of service is somewhat decided by the extent of the event, menu, and crowd. Here are a few types of banquet service arrangements that are common to banquet providers, such as caterers, hotels, and banquet halls.

Banquet Types

There are various types of banquet services you might experience if you're attending a conference or event. They are sometimes dependent on the size of the event or the menu itself. For example, plates being distributed by servers should be easy to handle, such as foods without sauces.

1. Buffet

Buffet service is very common in events with large numbers of attendees. Guests pass through a buffet line that features food choices on tables separate from the seating area. Guests serve themselves, which allows for convenience in choosing what an individual wants to eat. They then return to their table to eat. Beverages are typically delivered and refilled by attendants.

2. Reception

Finger food and appetizers are presented in a buffet-style arrangement where guests can serve themselves. These are generally gatherings where people mill around the room while eating and chatting.

3. Food Stations

Food stations, or action stations as they're sometimes called, include a variety of courses and offerings to guests. Many times these stations are manned by chefs who are cooking or preparing food in front of guests. Popular choices for these stations include meat carving, pasta bars, sushi stations, and desserts.

4. Cafeteria-style

Cafeteria-style banquet service is very similar to a buffet, where guests stand in line to choose their food. However, in cafeteria service, workers or servers dish food from the buffet line. This helps control costs since workers have control over portion sizes

5. Plated

In this service, guests are seated and servers bring food already portioned onto plates directly from the kitchen. This is the most efficient type of banquet service and also the least expensive. You'll frequently see this style at formal events such as weddings, where guests have been asked their choice of protein (beef or chicken, for example) and plates are assembled and sorted by those requests.

6. Family-style

Common internationally, family-style service features seated guests with large quantities of food in plates or bowls brought from the kitchen and placed at the table. Guests serve themselves and pass the food around the table.

7. Pre-set

If you show up at an event and the food is already on the table, you've experienced a pre-set service. This is frequently seen with items such as bread rolls, desserts, salads, and beverages. Main entrees generally are brought out from the kitchen in this configuration.

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