Difference Between Buffet and Banquet

Main Difference – Buffet vs Banquet

Both buffet and banquet are ways of serving food. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between buffet and banquet. A buffet is a casual meal where the guests serve themselves. A banquet is a more formal meal with several courses. The main difference between buffet and banquet is that a banquet may be held in honor of someone whereas buffets are mainly held to offer food.

What is a Buffet

Buffet is a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves. The meal is usually placed in a public area so that the guests can serve themselves as they like. It’s a common method for feeding a large number of guests with minimal staff. The guests can directly see the food and decide the dishes they want and how much they want to eat.

Buffets are offered at various places such as restaurants, hotels, and many social functions. Buffets at hotels and restaurants generally offer a fixed price, and the guests can have all they can eat. Buffets can be categorized into different types by the type of food they serve. Cold buffets are the buffets that don’t serve hot food whereas hot buffets are buffets where hot food is offered. Finger buffets offer small and delicate food which can be eaten by hand.

Difference Between Buffet and Banquet

What is a Banquet

A banquet is an elaborate meal, containing several courses. It is usually attended by many people and serves a purpose such as a ceremony or celebration. It can also be held in honor of someone. The meal is often followed by speeches made in honor of something or someone.

A banquet is usually more formal and elegant than a buffet. The place where a banquet is held is generally called a banquet hall. In a contemporary setting, banquets are held for business purposes and training sessions as well.

Main Difference - Buffet vs Banquet

Difference Between Buffet and Banquet


Buffet is a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves.

Banquet is an elaborate meal, containing several courses.      


Buffet is more casual than a banquet.

Banquet is more formal than a buffet.

Honoring people

Buffets are not held to honor people; the main purpose is serving food.

Banquet is usually held in honor of something or someone.


Buffet promotes self-serving.

Banquet does not promote self-serving.


Buffet does not offer luxurious food as banquets.

Banquet offers sumptuous meals.


Buffet may not contain several courses.

Banquet contains several courses.


Buffets can be held with minimal staff.

Banquets need more staff.


Speeches are not made in buffets.

In a banquet, the meal may be followed by speeches.Difference Between Buffet and Banquet - infographic

Image Courtesy:

by Jean-Louis Forain –  (Public Domain) via

“Banquet” By James Henry Nixon – (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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