Setting up a banquet, from banquet table setup ideas to theme plans, is a large portion of banquet work in the hospitality industry. The types of menu you plan, the banquet server and wait staff work, and the work of the banquet manager are all part of the work as well.
The banquet setup is an extension of all the other work that the hotel staff put into creating the banquet experience. Attention to those details will also show in menu creation, the preparation of the servers, and the inviting nature of the banquet space.
In this blog post, we’ll walk through different aspects of a banquet event setup. From the specific layout style to the themes and decorations you can use, we’ll run the gamut of banquet needs. Read on to learn how to craft the perfect banquet event for your hotel, bar, restaurant, or other hospitality business.
Banquet Style Setup
One key feature of banquet style setup is which banquet table setup option you choose. The way you set up the tables can be an extension of the theme, or it can be the driving factor behind the theme. It can be as simple or as meticulously designed as you like. You can use a standard setup that’s always ready to go, or you can keep the space open for each of your clients to choose.
Your client may come to you with a specific plan they want you to work with. Naturally, their preferences will always be the driving factor behind the way you set up the banquet space. There is, however, always the chance that your client won’t have anything specific in mind.
In those cases, it’s important to have proven layouts in your playbook.
These 10 banquet style setup options can work for any situation. They can also be made out of simple tables, for the most part, so you can work with the same furniture. Whether your client requests one of these, or you’re given charge over the design, these 10 ideas are good to have a plan for.
10. Classic Banquet Setup
A classic banquet setup is a simple design of long rows of rectangular tables, with seats placed on either side. This setup allows the most seats in the room. It also makes serving fairly simple for restaurant operations, and it can work for any style or theme with ease.
9. Hollow Square Setup
The hollow square setup is a square made up of several tables, with a space in the middle. The space can be used for a speaker podium, or a grand centerpiece. It can even be an open, accessible space, to make serving and clearing the tables easier.
8. Star Table Setup
A star table setup design is unusual and often fits a specific type or theme of banquet–like a birthday party or similar festive event. The star setup is made with irregular triangle, hexagonal, or other unique table shapes. The tables are put together to form an irregular star shape.
7. Herringbone Table Setup
The herringbone table setup is a variation of a classic row of classroom-style table arrangements. The difference is the slight angling of the tables towards the front of the room. A herringbone setup is ideal for banquets with speakers or entertainment.
6. U-Shaped Table Setup
The U-shaped table setup is similar to the hollow square, with the key difference being the lack of one side of the square. Of course, there are specialty table designs that can be one continuous table in the shape of a U. However, the same effect can be achieved with rectangular tables shaped as an open square.
5. Auditorium Setup
The auditorium setup is unique in that it doesn’t involve any tables. In this setup, seats are arranged in the style of ascending rows you would see in an auditorium or theater. This is most often used for banquets where the speaker is the main event.
4. Boardroom Setup
The boardroom setup is similar to the hollow square. The key difference is that the tables are arranged as a hollow rectangle as opposed to a square. This creates a more intimate, conversational experience.
3. Classroom Setup
The classroom setup is a simple and easy setup with rows of rectangular tables and chairs on either side. This setup works for a banquet event with a speaker. That said, it can also be used for a banquet that is devoted to the full course meal and socializing with the other guests.
2. Crescent Table Setup
The crescent table setup is half of the round table setup. One option for round tables is to use two crescent-shaped tables to form a circle. Crescent tables can, however, be used on their own to create the same conversational space as a round table setup. The difference is that there is more room for the serving of the courses.
1. Round Table Setup
The round table setup is one of the most common banquet table setup ideas. It is ideal for serving guests–creating an open space for a speaker and inviting conversation among the guests. It’s no wonder that it’s used so often.
“Key Takeaway: The banquet setup is an extension of all the other work the hotel staff put into creating the banquet experience.”
Types of Banquet Setup: Decorations and Themes
Beyond the tables, a banquet setup also involves a theme. From decorations to lighting to themed menu basics, this theme can be as grand or as minimal as the client prefers. Since the theme is largely chosen by the client, it’s not something you’ll have the insights to prepare for in detail. There are, however, some general themes you can have a loose outline prepared for to boost customer satisfaction.
These five themes that go along with types of banquet setup options are open-ended, to leave room for client specifications. These options give you room to plan and collect some decorations, without planning each detail before the client gives their input.
Client-based themes come in at number five because they’re not something you can explicitly plan for. They are, however, something you should be prepared for. To prepare for a client-based theme, the best thing to do is keep an open mind. That will help prevent any preconceived ideas of the design.
4. Occasion Celebration
Occasion celebrations–including birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements–are another form of client-based themes, but they can be planned more easily in advance. Other occasion celebrations typically are used for company anniversaries, major announcements, vow renewal parties, and coming-of-age celebrations. Having some decor on hand for these themes also comes in handy.
Location-based themes can be based on your hotel’s location, or they can be a location theme selected by the client. The best way to prepare for these themes is to have some general decor and menu options available for your location.
Holiday-inspired themes, from the winter holidays–with winter cocktails on the menu–to the summer solstice, can be prepared for well in advance. Of course, clients may have specific design plans and preferences, but you can plan ahead with general decorations and menu options.
Classic themes for banquet events are one of the most easily prepared for options. Classic themes can be equated to an upscale restaurant–like a Michelin Star restaurant–or a formal dinner. You can prepare for classic events by having top-quality tablecloths, dishes and utensils, and menu options ready to go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Banquet Setups
The planning behind banquet setups can come with a lot of questions for hospitality staff and banquet hosts alike. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some background on planning for a banquet event. The next time you set up a banquet, you’ll be well-prepared to impress the guests.
How Do You Arrange a Banquet Table?
Beyond the arrangement of banquet tables, the arrangement of each banquet table should be kept neat and tidy, and aligned with the theme. From the dishes and utensils to the centerpiece, every facet of the table arrangement has the potential to bring the theme together.
How Do You Make a Banquet Table Look Nice?
The best way to make a banquet table look nice is to keep it simple and streamlined. No matter what the theme is or how many courses there are, it’s best to keep it minimal, to avoid clutter and potential spills–though cleaning supplies and wine stain removers should be kept nearby just in case a banquet or restaurant server needs them.
How Many Tables Do You Need for 50 Guests?
The general rule of thumb is to have one table for every 10 guests, so for 50 guests, you need five tables. Unless you’re working with a very specific table size, it is safe to assume 10 guests will be accommodated by one table.
What Is Banquet Setup Style?
Banquet setup style is, in essence, the planning of design and layout that goes into setting up a banquet space. Each banquet guest will have different specifications and expectations. However, a general plan for banquet setup is an important part of a hospitality business plan–similar to a restaurant business plan.
Banquet Setups: Style for Every Banquet Occasion
While every banquet client will have specifications, having these table and theme options ready will keep you ahead of the banquet preparation process. For more information on being prepared for banquets and other hospitality events, come back to the BinWise blog.