Different Types of Buffet Service in Hotel

What is Buffet Service?

A buffet is a process of serving meals, in which food is placed in a public area where the food serves itself. Buffets are offered at various places including hotels, restaurants, and many social events.

The buffet comes under self-service which normally offers you food for a set price, but some measure prices by weight or by the number of dishes.

Rather than the three main meals – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, there are other types of buffet services like brunch, full afternoon tea, and high tea are served in the foodservice areas of the hotels, institutional catering units, and other restaurants to meet the requirements of the guests.

What are the Types of Buffet Services?

Here are different kinds of buffets:

1. Brunch

Brunch is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch. It is a combination of breakfast and lunch served between 10 and 3 p.m., which is normally set up after the morning event. It is offered during weekends and holidays.

It is the most popular meal amongst people who start their day late. It is a heavy meal combining the qualities of breakfast and lunch. Alcoholic drinks are optional with brunch.

Brunch in a hotel may be simple or heavy depending on the occasion and the price. Most hotels serve brunch from a buffet having good spread juices, fruits, bread, toasts, salads, assorted pastries, grills, eggs, stews, casseroles, fish, cold meats, pancakes, waffles, pies, flans, ice creams, etc. at a set price, called table d’hôte menu.

Some hotels offer an à la carte brunch menu in the coffee shop, near the swimming pool, in the laws, in the lounge, or in the rooms of a hotel, from which the guests can choose the dishes according to their choice.

Indian brunch menu may have samosas, kachoris, dhoklas, idlis, Mirchi vadas, Mysore Bonda, salads, fruits, bread, kebabs, tikkas, stuffed parathas, poori bhaji, Rotis, pulao, etc. Any items that guests usually take during breakfast and lunch may be included in the brunch menu.

Some colleges and Hotels provide brunch on Sundays. Brunch is often served to a group of guests from the buffet during a gathering for a function, especially a wedding, birthday, sports event, etc.

All necessary food service equipment will be kept on the buffet in the case of a fork buffet or set up on the dining table in the case of a sit-down buffet.

2. Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is served in many establishments between 4 to 6 p.m. And this foodservice buffet arrangement is followed in 3 different buffet services:

  • Full afternoon tea is served in a rated/luxury hotel.
  • High tea is served in a popular restaurant or cafe.
  • Reception or buffet tea is served during the function.

a) Full Afternoon Tea

This menu usually consists of some or all of the items, depending on the price fixed and the promotional policy. The full afternoon tea menu is usually a table d’hôte menu. Dishes are served in the order listed, except for beverages, which are served first.

Cover for Full Afternoon Tea

The following cover should be laid for full afternoon tea:

  • A side plate with a paper napkin and a side knife is placed in the center of the cover.
  • Pastry fork.
  • Cup and saucer with a teaspoon.
  • Preserve on an underplate with a preserves spoon.

Service Sequence for Full Afternoon Tea

The following is the service sequence for full afternoon tea:

  • Serve beverages.
  • Serve toast, tea cakes, and crumpets.
  • Offer sandwiches.
  • Serve buttered scones.
  • Serve bread and butter.
  • Offer cake and pastries.

b) High Tea

The high tea menu includes the items offered in the full afternoon tea menu with other dishes, such as grills, snacks, fish and meat dishes, salads, cold sweats, and ice creams.

The meat dishes normally come in the form of pies and pastries, whereas the fish dishes are grilled or fried. The menu may be either in the form of a table d’hôte or a la carte.

Following are the accompaniments offered with high tea:

  • Proprietary sauces, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce.
  • Vinegar.
  • Mustard.

Cover for High Tea

The following cover should be laid for high tea-

  • Joint knife and fork.
  • Cup and saucer with a teaspoon to the right-hand side.
  • Cruet Set.
  • Preserve the dish on the underplate.
  • Side plate with side knife.
  • Napkin.
  • Sugar bowl with tongs/teaspoon/sachets.

Service Sequence for High Tea

The following is the service sequence for high tea:

  1. Serve beverages.
  2. Serve hot snacks, such as fish/meat, etc.
  3. Clear the plate and cutlery.
  4. Serve toast, tea cakes, and crumpets.
  5. Offer sandwiches.
  6. Serve buttered scones.
  7. Serve bread and butter.
  8. Offer cakes and pastries.
  9. Serve ice creams last, if ordered.

In Indian restaurants, the guests place the order from the menu card and the customers prefer items, such as samosa, kachori, aloo Tikki, vada, pav bhaji, bhelpuri, sweets, etc. during tea time.

c) Reception Tea or Buffet Tea

Buffet tea or reception tea is arranged during special functions and private parties where more people are to be served.

In this method, food and beverages are served to the guests from a buffet table. The points concerning buffet set up, the arrangement of food and beverages on the buffet, and assignments of duties to the staff should be taken into account while extending service from the buffet.


The occupations and socializing activities of people have influenced changes in eating habits significantly which has demanded the introduction of brunches and high teas.

Brunch is a meal that combines breakfast and lunch often offered during holidays, on Sundays, after an event, etc, and is frequently taken by aircrews who arrive at the hotel late at night.

Evening tea, full afternoon tea, and high tea are organized during the party, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc, and also offered in restaurants for guests who feel hungry in the evening or who would like to spend time with friends and family.

Dipayan Mondal
Dipayan Mondal

Dipayan is the author of this blog. He completed his hotel management degree from GNIHM, Kolkata. And he is very passionate about the hospitality industry. And right now, he is working as a successful hotelier in a 5-star hotel.

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