Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Seated, buffet, or stations - wasted food??

FI and I are looking at different options for our reception dinner. We love the idea of buffets or stations because everyone can pick out whatever and how much they want. However, my cousin works at a country club that does a lot of weddings and he was warning against a buffet because of the amount of food that gets thrown out afterwards (apparently there are very strict health codes about buffets and leftover food is not allowed to be taken home). Apparently after one function they threw out 3 perfectly good huge cuts of beef, which I find pretty sickening. Does anyone have any insight into this? Do you think more food would be wasted at a sit-down dinner, considering not everyone may like or will eat the portion they've been given? I also don't know that much about stations - are they pretty much like a buffet?

Re: Seated, buffet, or stations - wasted food??

  • edited December 2011
    I am pretty sure that there will be more wasted food for a buffet/stations than a sit down dinner.  We did a station style meal and my mom got completely upset when they said they were going to throw out the remaining beef tenderloin.  She ended up having four or five of my H's guy friends go over and pretend they wanted a nice big piece (in actuality they were getting it for my mom) and managed to sneak most of it out.  

    So there's that.  
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Buffets and stations generally have more food waste.  The problem is you can't predict what foods people will like so you have to cook enough for everyone to have everything.   In addition to that people's eyes are bigger than their stomachs, so people will take more than the will actually eat.

    In general the fewer the options the less food there is to waste.  That, however, defeats the purpose of having a buffet for some people.

    The food wasted on a sit-down would be pretty much only what was not eaten on the plate. If you pick universally popular meals, that should not be much of a problem. 






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  • edited December 2011
    Ditto PP, I would think sit down dinner would be much less waste. There will be some, because venues generally make a few extra of everything in case of accidents or a guest needing to switch meals due to allergies/preference, etc. But nothing like the waste of a buffet.
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  • edited December 2011
    More food is typically wasted with a buffet or stations because they need to constantyl replenish things to make sure it looks fresh and it is tough to predict what will be the most popular.  I do not know of anywhere that would allow you to take extra food home. 
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  • Sue-n-KevinSue-n-Kevin member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011

    If you are concerned about waste, ask the venue. Our venue required us to bring in our own caterer, and they were MORE THAN HAPPY to pack everything up so we could bring it home! We ate beef tenderloin for a week! Yum.

    OR, you could ask the venue if they donate "left over food" to a homeless shelter. I've heard of this being done by restaurants, not sure about banquet venues.


    Are you worried about waste, or price? Buffets tend to be more inexpensive precisely because of preparation of multiple types of very few foods. I'd guess stations (which are set up with various types of food by nationality, or pasta with multiple sauces, etc) are second, and the most expensive may be apps or plated meals. This is because they have to provide the individual servers versus putting it out on one table.


    Hope that helps.

  • FaithCaitlinFaithCaitlin member
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Like the girls said, buffet/stations will have more food waste. I hate the thought of food being thrown away too. :(

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  • neongreenboxneongreenbox member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I imagine buffet/stations as well are more wasteful but like another knottie said - check to see if they donate any leftovers. My caterer donates leftovers to a local food pantry. At least with buffet the leftovers can usually be used versus what is left on a plate for sit down. If for some reason this can't be done there are some waste management companies in the area that will compost leftovers (I am in Philly area too.)
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