One form of buffet is to have a table filled with plates containing fixed portions of food; customers select plates containing whichever food items they want as they walk along. This form is most commonly seen in cafeterias. A variation occurs in a Dim sum house, where the patrons make their selections from a wheeled trolley containing the different plates of food that circulate through the restaurant. Another derivative of this type of buffet occurs where patrons choose food from a buffet style layout and then pay based on what was chosen (sometimes based on the weight of the food).
Another form, known as the all-you-can-eat buffet, is more free-form: customers pay a fixed fee and can then help themselves to as much food as they wish to eat in a single meal. This form is found often in restaurants, especially in hotels.
A third type of buffet commonly offered in delicatessens and supermarkets is a salad bar, in which customers help themselves to lettuce and other salad ingredients, then pay by weight.
A fourth type of buffet is associated with a celebration of some sort.
As a compromise between self-service and full table service, a staffed buffet may be offered: diners bring their own plate along the buffet line and are given a portion from a server at each station. This method is prevalent at catered meetings where diners are not paying specifically for their meal.
A traditional form of buffet in Sweden is the smörgåsbord, which literally means table of sandwiches.
Read more about this topic: Buffet
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