Adjust the buffet

How do you ensure that your buffet is arranged as efficiently as possible with as little waste as possible? We are happy to share some tips.

The buffet is one of the largest sources of food waste in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, it is not always an option to get rid of the buffet and, for example, offer an à la carte option instead. Still, there are definitely opportunities to optimize your buffet. 

1. Smaller bowls, refill more often

Smaller bowls and refilling more often is a small extra action and it can help so much in reducing food waste. The customer experience remains the same and you also ensure that your products remain chilled for longer.

2. Adjust the setup

Adjusting the setup can significantly reduce your food waste. You can then better cater to the number of guests. Also, guests often plate up more than they actually eat, you can prevent this by organizing your buffet differently. Remember the following tricks:

  • With fewer guests, you can close parts of the buffet, so the other part appears more filled and you have less waste!
  • Have the cutlery at the beginning of the buffet, this way the guest can carry fewer plates.
  • Avoid trays. This also prevents the guest from bringing too many full plates.
  • Think carefully about the route of your buffet, you can send your guest through the right route to certain products.

3. Setup in portions

buffet portiesFood is also wasted because guests don't eat everything they've plated up. Of course, you can't use that anymore, so consider preparing portions. You can apply this in the following way:

  • Put pre-prepared portions on the buffet so you can control the amount of food that is left over.
  • Look critically at the size of the portions. Often 400/500 grams is used, but 200 grams turns out to be more than enough.


4. Plan reuse

Think about possible reuse of products left over from the buffet. This is a creative challenge, but very efficient. For example, you can still use bread for lunch or dinner, just pop it in the oven and you have delicious toasted sandwiches. Read our article on reusing products for more inspiration

5. Tell the story

Let your guests know the story of why you want to reduce food waste. In this way, the guest also understands why you have made a certain choice in preparing your buffet. You could do the following:

  • Place neat signs at the buffet with the text "We look forward  to seeing you again for a 2nd round’.
  • Use coasters on the table with "fun" facts about food waste, to create more awareness. 
  • Posters in the hall, elevator or near the restaurant. 

We like to learn from practice and are, therefore, curious about your story. Do you have more tips or would you like to comment on the content of this article? Share your experience with us by sending an e-mail to

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