July 1, 2022

What’s the Difference Between Buffets and Food Stations?

When you’re gearing up for an event, you have to figure out the food. There are many options you can consider once you decide to get catering, especially from Grico’s. There’s the typical dining experience, but there are also two other choices that give your guests the power to pick their own portions and dinner: buffets and food stations. 

But which is the right idea for you? Are events better off with buffets vs. food stations? We can explain so you know the difference between buffets and food stations so you can make an informed decision.

What is a Buffet?

Everyone has heard of “all-you-can-eat” buffets since Herb McDonald first coined it. At the El Rancho Vegas, he opened the first 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet. Buffets have been a favorite dining option for any who are unsure of what they want to eat. You walk in, pay a fee, and eat to your heart’s content from the many options of food the buffet offers.

With catering, you pay for your guest’s meals ahead of time, but it operates the same way. Everyone can have as much as they can eat or as much as the kitchen can make. You don’t have to have staff wait on the guests and take care of the food.

When Should You Have a Buffet?

There are some strengths and weaknesses to buffet catering when compared to food stations. With a buffet, we want to make more than guests will eat. This means it’s highly unlikely that you will have anyone go hungry or not have enough to eat, but that comes at the price of having food that goes uneaten. 

Buffets are also typically not themed around one type of food. There may be multiple different kinds of food from different places and food groups, but the selection is always pretty vast. The goal is to give guests more options than they need, which is perfect for when you don’t know the food preferences of all or even most of your guests.

To meet the catering needs of your event, we offer these buffet menus:

All of our buffet menus offer selections of salad, entrees, and sides. Our Upscale and Elegant Buffet menus have options from a chef-manned cutting station. Our Grand Buffet menu has a section dedicated to appetizers and comes with a make-your-own salad bar, protein dishes, and pasta.

What is a Food Station?

A food station can appear to be a mini-buffet as it gives your guests the ability to choose when they want to eat and how much. The difference is that a food station will typically have an attendant who will serve the food to each of your guests. Then there’s the difference in the food they serve. A food station is specific, with only a few options in one category. A food station can have two to three seafood options, deserts, types of pasta, etc. There’s not as much variety but focuses on highly specific tastes instead. 

When Should You Have a Food Station?

If you know what your guests prefer to eat, the variety and size of a buffet menu are unnecessary. You can get food stations that focus on what people will eat and enjoy. Then with the extra room, there’s more space for your guests to socialize. Depending on the event, this may be a necessity. 

To meet varied tastes, our catering offers these food stations:

They all offer about a dozen options, with antipasto and pasta having even more. Each one fills a slot that buffets can provide, but not with as much variety. They can be used to fill in any gaps that aren’t on the buffet menu you chose.

Buffets vs. Food Stations: Which One is Best For You?

Luckily, Grico’s Classic Cuisine and Catering offer several options for both. Our catering coordinator can help you figure out which options are best for your event based on what information you have. Maybe you should go for the buffet or have a couple of food stations. Maybe neither or a mix of both will suit your needs best. We can figure out and provide you with the food you need.

To schedule catering with us, please contact our Catering Coordinator to discuss details. Email her at afriedman@gricosrestaurant.com or she can be reached at 570-690-3339. Whether you want to have your event at our place, another place, or yours, we can make it work. If you want to test our food before you have it for catering, make an online reservation with our restaurant.