Sample Dinner Buffet Menu

How to Create a Dinner Buffet Menu for Your Restaurant

Dinner buffets are a great way to boost restaurant sales
Dinner buffets are a great way to boost restaurant sales. Aline Henda via Pixabay

Buffet dinners are excellent for restaurants who offer catering services.  They allow restaurants to feed the maximum amount of people with minimal staff. Some foods are better suited for buffets than others, such as pasta, roasted meats, platters and appetizers. Desserts that can be made in large batches, like cake, crisps or cookies are also a good option for buffet dinners. 

 It's important to remember that to always want to check menu prices periodically, to adjust for rising costs of ingredients and labor.

As with a regular dining room menu, it is also important to update your catering menus each year. If certain buffet items aren't selling, it's time to nix them and add new, more fashionable choices

Sample Buffet Choices 

Note that the prices listed are just suggestions. They do not reflect current market prices or fluctuations in prices due to location. 

Classic Dinner Buffet
Our most popular buffet choice. Included with this buffet are two entrée choices, choice of starch, seasonal vegetable, tossed salad with dressings, warm rolls and butter, and a beverage station. $15.95 per person. Please refer to the entrée choices below.

Light Dinner Buffet
Included with this buffet are one entrée choice, choice of starch, seasonal vegetable, warm rolls and butter, and a beverage station. $12.95 per person. Please refer to the entrée choices below.

Italian Pasta Buffet
Includes a tossed Garden Salad with dressings, linguini tossed with olive oil and garlic, and choice of three sauces: Classic Meat Marinara, Creamy Alfredo, and Vegetable Pesto.

Also included are savory garlic bread and a beverage station. $13.95 per person

DINNER ENTRÉE SELECTIONS 

Hand Carved Roast Beef
Baked Virginia Ham
Roasted Turkey with Gravy
Pork Loin with Herb Stuffing
Chicken Piccatta
Chicken Breast with Herb Stuffing
Haddock Parmesan
Baked Sole with Crabmeat Stuffing
Vegetable Primavera
Italian Lasagna (Vegetable or Meat)

DESSERTS (priced per person)
Carrot Cake $ 1.75
Warm Apple Crisp $1.75
Petite Fours $1.50/each
Ice Cream & Hot Fudge $1.75
Brownies & Cookies $1.50
Sheet Cake $1.50
Cream Puffs $2.25

There are many other kind of buffet options, including food stations, build-your-own stations, carving stations, and dessert bars. 

Restaurant Catering Policies

The first wedding I ever catered started at 4pm and the last guest didn't leave until after midnight, because we did not have a room use policy for our function room. After that very long event we drafted up the following policies around our catering services and room use. Having clear catering policies help prevent any misunderstanding between the staff and guests as to what is expected during the event. 

  • Our banquet room is available for private parties of 15 or more guests and holds up to 100 guests. There is no room fee for the use of our banquet room. 
  • A $100 deposit is required at the time booking. The remaining balance for functions are required at the conclusion of the function unless other arrangements are made in advance.
  • A guaranteed number of guests (final count) are required at least one week in advance. This will be the number of guests for which food is prepared. Accordingly, this final count will also be the base for the amount that parties will be billed.
  • If a private bar is requested for any function, there is a $50.00 bartender fee
  • No food from other vendors may be brought into the event hall, with the exception of wedding cakes. There is a $50 cake cutting fee, which includes cutting and serving cake to guests.
  • Due to health codes, no buffet food may be taken home following an event. 

Having clearly outlined policies for the use of your function room is important, so that there are no unpleasant surprises (or costs) for the customer at the end of the event. Depending on your restaurant's location, catering room fees and other service fees may be higher.