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How to Choose Between Buffet or Sit-Down Dinner for your Murder Mystery Party

Consumption. The action of ingesting a plate of yummy food, or in this case—information! Greetings! I am Madame Cluedefti, here to make sure your guests devour your Murder Mystery party exactly the way you wish.  A few simple decisions about how your meal is served can change the entire mood of the evening.

Shall we begin? Take a seat. Have a bite to eat!

What is most important—price or quality? You must establish this before moving forward with how to choose between buffet, family-style or sit-down service for your murder mystery party. 

  1. The Event Budget

  2. The Formality of Event, Upscale vs. Low-key

  3. Number of Guests

  4. Inclusion of Entertainment

Fake Money
Fake Money


Of course, an important decision to keep in mind before executing is how much you want to spend. If money grows on trees, then let’s use diamonds as ice cubes! But, for those on a budget I will review a couple things that may help not break the bank but also make it a night your patrons never forget! Typically, a sit-down supper is pricier than buffet. The costs of the caterer will go up the more staff you need. At a sit-down style, multiple waiters will need to be hired in order to satisfy this type of occasion.

In a buffet setting, less are hired because the audience gets their own food. With that said, some banquet facilities may actually charge more for a buffet because they’re less familiar with the planning. With a sit-down, a pre-selected menu can be used so the establishment knows the exact amount of food to purchase. With a self-serve, it is more open ended and they may purchase more food incurring more cost on you, the customer. A loophole to this may be when you have your gathering. With a late afternoon spread say after the “standard brunch time” you may get a better deal because the venue is already prepared for a smorgasbord.  This of course, must all go in line with what type of affair you’re hosting. Fact is- Don’t assume buffet is always cheaper, do your shopping and ask the right questions.  Being a savvy buyer is the best ingredient when choosing between buffet or sit down dinner for your murder mystery party. 

buffet murder mystery
buffet murder mystery

The Grand Juncture

If this get-together is intended to be an upscale fundraiser or work gathering we must keep a few things in mind to relay this high end aura to your attendees. Imagine yourself at a ritzy-bash, are you self-serving your meals? Or is the wine being poured for you while you laugh over lit candles? A sit-down dinner is perceived as being classier than serve-yourself meals. Normally this style has multiple courses involved and presents a more prestigious vibe to your attendees. This does not mean you can’t have a posh rendezvous with a buffet. If the spread has meat carvers and tons of variety, then it is just as fancy as the sit-down. Just make sure you note this on your invitation that the deluxe buffet is better than your average early bird special. This way visitor’s don’t feel slighted if paying a high ticket price.

If, the assembly is meant to be an easy-going party then a buffet style come together may be just what

you’re looking for. The middle ground between the two is sometimes called “family-style.” Family-style service is where the waiters bring the food in large bowls and the customers serve themselves from the table.  This can be a nice cost saving method as less waiters are needed, yet your guests do not need to leave their seats.  Not only will your guests have the allure of being served but they can also choose when and how much they want to eat. Family-style is perceived as less elegant than sit-down but more upper-class than buffet. A go-to for the indecisive host with hungry visitors. By the way, how many people did you invite? 

Maximum Occupancy

With an intimate, small gathering it may not matter as much between buffet or sit-down dinner for your murder mystery party. But as the old saying goes, the more the merrier so let’s evaluate how to make this decision based off the attendees. Remember, the more people, the more waiters that need to be hired to keep up with the service.

sit down murder mystery
sit down murder mystery

With that said, a buffet may be better with higher crowd numbers. In consequence, what will this cost your invited? With many spectators having one goal in mind, can lead to long lines. Long lines really can put a negative vibe into your event and should be avoided.  A strategy to break this up is have two buffets lines. This will not double the amount of food, just cut the time it takes to serve in half. If the space will not permit this, ask the entertainment company to provide strolling amusement or pre-show antics to mitigate.

A second option for big groups is family style. This allows for less venue staff on hand, ultimately making the night a little cheaper. With enormous parties I want you to consider a fixed menu. This will help trim the costs as the establishment will know exact quantities on what to purchase. You must also keep the room space in mind when having a buffet with a gigantic audience. There needs to be enough room for people to access the food at any given time. Especially if there are senior citizens or disabled people in your party. Please be able to accommodate everyone at all times. Make sure you discuss this with your facility to make the most out of your time there.  Let’s get your guest’s stuffed and ready to see a great show! By the way, how does choosing between sit down or buffet for your murder mystery affect the actors?

Riddlesbrood for All!

Riddlesbrood will adapt to any serving theme! Each show is different depending on the meal format you choose and they will optimize it so that you and your guests have an experience to remember! A self-serve atmosphere is usually the simplest to organize for the touring theater group. After the last few guests are at the buffet line, the crew will give a five minute warning. The show will start and run until the end.Family-style and sit-down servings are different because the show can be broken up between courses. Typically the actors will perform after the salads, after the entrees and during the deserts. This can be a more holistic way to view your event as it provides entertainment throughout the entire meal.  A sit-down often provides more entertainment in less time creating a more interactive performance. 

bar murder mystery
bar murder mystery

With a murder mystery show, guests are encouraged to get up, visit the bar or restroom during the performance since it is more of a stand-up comedy atmosphere rather than a drama setting. If need be to leave from the table, you may get poked at but you’ll not miss much as they keep it light-hearted and fun. But hurry back, you do have a mystery to solve!No one approach is better for the production. They will adapt in any situation. The only thing that matters is that it fits in with your budget, your style and the mood you’re trying to create. Riddlesbrood accommodates to all! 

Riddlesbrood touring theater company is your go to troupe for murder mystery parties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This team is prepared for any situation. Please visit their FAQ's on their website for more information. Of course you can reach out to them directly at 866-276-6399 for any further questions or comments. 



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