I was at a buffet, which by the way was fantastic in diversity and flavors. Spread along the length of a 6′ table and organized by mains, sides and then desserts. Serving spoons and forks liberally distributed. It was a pleasure to behold and gather my servings.
But my big beef was the utensils! Aarrggh! I know that your old-school cafeterias always started the line with trays and eating utensils. It was efficient that way. But in a household-type buffet, where you just give guests a plate rather than a tray, it makes no sense to make them juggle their napkin/knife/fork/spoon while they are filling their plates. This type of set up without tray always leaves me returning to the line to retrieve a napkin or a knife. Sigh.
My favorite thing to do is to have the napkin and utensils set at the tables where people will be dining after they’ve filled their plates. It even works at picnics. And if you have people spreading themselves about throughout your house next to coffee tables and on sofas, you can even leave bundles or serving glasses filled with sets in bunches around the aforementioned seating spots. Be a friend.
Nobody needs their utensils until they begin eating, so help them out and don’t make them pick up with their plates at your next buffet. Now their hands are free to pile up the food and even grab a beverage with no hassle at all.
(I admit, you may need to retrain a few old-timers who are used to juggling their dinnerware, but it’s an easy new skill to learn and they will appreciate you for it.)