The buffet is an American institution. We didn’t invent it, but we love the freedom of choice and portion size—and of course, going back for seconds at no additional charge. The events of the last year stopped buffets in their tray-railed tracks, leaving many of us wondering if they would ever come back.
Things are looking up! Now that re-opening is well underway, buffets are also on the rebound. And if they have to evolve to survive, they will. After all, one of the greatest lessons we’ve all learned from this era of uncertainty is how to quickly adapt when the situation changes on a dime.
If you’re planning to re-open your buffet, transitional serving tools and equipment are the ticket to easing back into self-service while being prepared to expect the unexpected. Here are a few that look great and can be used in different ways under varied circumstances, making them well worth their weight in gold.
Serving Well Converters
Hatco’s Heated Well Cover makes hot food bars more versatile by converting Hatco Drop-In Heated Wells into heated shelves. The cover creates a heated space to hold pre-packaged, pre-heated foods at safe-serving temperatures for self-serve purposes.
Multi-position Sneeze Guards
Since how you serve today may change in the future, the 3-position Delfield FlexiShield, part of Delfield’s Shelleysteel serving system, easily moves from a self-serve position to a full-serve position without the use of tools.
Made to protect food without getting in the way, the primarily glass design provides an unobstructed view of food while keeping it safe.
TableCraft Cooling Plates keep food chilled for up to 3 hours. This versatile solution is available in three sizes (Half, Half Long, and Full). Use them separately, on stands, or in a cooling base station. The 3-Tiered Half Long Cooling Display (#CW40309B) includes three half-size Cooling Plates and Black Powder Coated Stand. Components are also sold separately.
Covered Cold Beverage Decanters
Shatter-proof Camliter Beverage Decanters are a great solution for offering pre-portioned beverages such as juice, iced tea, and milk on the buffet when self-serve dispensing isn’t feasible. Offered by Cambro in 8, 16, 33, and 50 ounce sizes, each decanter comes with a snap-tight flat lid to guard against spills and contamination. An optional pour spout lid for the two largest sizes helps protect contents from contamination while allowing free pour—perfect for providing ice water for each table.
Action Station Shields
Freestanding TableCraft Action Station Shields, available in single and double sizes, create a safe barrier between staff and customers while showcasing the food. Set up with any locally-mandated precautions in place, a shielded buffet attended by a server provides a safer alternative to self-service.
Hand Sanitation Stands
Freestanding hand sanitizer stands can be placed at the buffet entrance and any other location with high touch surfaces to support hygiene and help put customers at ease. This heavy duty aluminum floor stand and hand sanitizer dispenser by NewAge Industrial holds sanitizer at a convenient height without taking up valuable counter or wall space. Base is also offered in an optional black powder coated finish.
Although vigilant hand hygiene and utensil cleaning practices are always a must, TableCraft antimicrobial tongs and utensils are valuable tools to have as an added layer of protection for both self-serve and attended buffets. Handles provide built-in Microban® antimicrobial protection against contamination from human contact and food residues. Microban is safe for food contact, will not wash or wear away from use or cleaning, and is proven to keep serving utensils cleaner between washings.
Individual Covered Servers
BauscherHepp created the Touch Free Dining Collection to enable attractive and hygienic presentation of single servings for buffets as well as in-room and grab-and-go style dining. This new line includes premium German porcelain with a clear, shatterproof cover to merchandise signature menu items. A sustainable, practical solution for hygienic presentation of an endless variety of menu items, the Touch Free Dining Collection is dishwasher safe and stacks for space-saving storage.
TableCraft Die Cast Cocottes make for a charming dining experience. These die cast single servers are ideal for appetizers, sides, soups, and desserts. Accompanying lids keep foods safely covered and add a little flair to your presentation, whether offered on the buffet or delivered to your patrons’ tables. These easy-to-clean, 8 ounce capacity servers are available in round, oval, and square shapes in three jewel-tone colors.