What to Consider When Specifying Buffetware

Lisa Hackworth, product and marketing specialist at The Wasserstrom Co., Columbus, Ohio, explores the ins and outs of the right type of buffetware.

FE&S: What are the main considerations when choosing buffetware?

LH: Operators need to consider the type of setting — if it’s a formal banquet or casual buffet — as well as if there will be a theme or design that needs to be adhered to. It’s best to purchase pieces that can fit in with a multitude of events, which will provide the best bang for the buck. Pieces should be able to adapt to various accessories as well. Flexibility is key with today’s buffetware.

FE&S: In terms of heating in a buffet setting, what should operators take into account?

LH: Operators need to think about the image they’re projecting to guests while also looking at the production process and local ordinances. For example, certain areas of the country prohibit the use of open flames. Also, the temperature and control of induction heating impacts food differently than flame burners. Bottom heat won’t be enough for certain products, so the addition of heat lamps will be necessary with some items. Other things to look at include whether a carving station will be included for meat and if a griddle top will be used for breakfast or lunch. Buffets are no longer just serving traditional meals.

FE&S: What are the considerations when it comes to chilled food and buffetware?

LH: Operators need to make the best use of space, not just for heated items but also for chilled food, like tiered shrimp cocktail. In the past, these items were mainly cooled in ice baths, but there are now chill packs and double wall bowls with a variety of options available.

FE&S: What are the considerations with induction heating in buffet settings?

LH: Induction is more popular now, but it’s important to look at the facility and setting to see where it can be set up and whether there are electrical limitations. Other heating options, like battery packs, can hold temperatures for several hours and are a better choice for outdoor settings or instances where there is limited electrical capacities.