• AmFund

Keep That Line Moving: How to Best Serve Food at your Next Special Event

When you are hosting a fundraising event — whether it be a live auction, silent auction or some other set up — there is always one common thing you must offer to all of your guests: food. Sure, this sounds like a pretty obvious statement. What kind of fundraising event wouldn’t offer food? However, it’s important not to overlook the importance of how and where you serve your food.

At the end of the day, you want your guests to come away with a great experience at your event. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of food set up tips to help make sure your guests aren’t stuck waiting around, ready to eat their fingers.


Two buffets are better than one

If the food service at your event is buffet style, don't place your buffet line against a wall. It works best to set up two identical buffets, one on each side of the room. This will keep the lines short as your guests spread out to the two different food locations.

Buffet lines also move much quicker when guests can serve themselves from both sides of the table at the same time. Again, the idea here is to keep the lines short and quick paced. You never want hungry guests waiting in a line that looks never ending.



Self-serve is the way to go

Using servers may seem like the most professional approach to serving food at big events, but this is a common misconception. Guests are always more than happy to serve themselves, especially if it means getting to the food a little faster. Also make sure the catering staff keeps the chafing dishes and other serving containers topped off, but don’t have them actually spoon out the food to each guest. 

Servers tend to vastly slow the pace of dishing out the food. Many of them get caught up in conversations with guests. That’s because the servers feel obliged to greet each guest, and ask, “What would you like?” then they time to spoon it onto the guest’s  plate and ask, “Is that enough, or do you want more?”  And if the guest wants more, the whole process is repeated again! There tends to be a lot of back and forth with questions. For this reason, guests prefer to serve themselves and get back to their tables.

It’s all about the pace

When it comes to serving food, it’s all about an organized, quick-paced approach to keeping your guests happy. If the buffet line is slow, the guests who are served first will get bored waiting for the rest of the evening’s events to occur. The pacing of your entire event is often centered on how quick the food is served. This is a big component of every event, and it’s one that should never be ignored in your planning stages.


No matter what kind of food set up you have in mind for your next event, AmFund has years of experience to help ensure your guests have the best experience possible. Reach out to us today for more tips and insights!


The nonprofit 501(c)(3) American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund) works with over 250 organizations all over the country, forming partnerships to raise them additional funds at their special events. Contact us if you would like to be considered for a possible nonprofit partnership at your next fundraising event.