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Benefit Auctions: Your Buffet Is Costing You Thousands In Lost Revenue

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never have a buffet at your charity auction

Never EVER have a buffet! Ever? Never!

Buffets may be the cheapest option available, but that does NOT mean they’re right for your event. In fact, you’ll lose far more money from having a buffet than you would from investing in a plated meal.

Here's why that buffet is a TERRIBLE investment, and how to do dining right.

There’s a rule about food and auctions that you MAY have heard before. When it comes to bidding...

“If there’s food, it kills the mood.”

Food will overshadow bidding EVERY time.

Picture it: Your Silent Auction is underway and the buffet opens up. Where is your hungry crowd going to focus?

Not on bidding.

The event just started and that darn buffet is ALREADY wrecking your fundraising efforts, and it’s still the Silent Auction!


Buffets create CHAOS at your event.

And chaos is definitely not the right vibe for fundraising.

Imagine there’s a buffet open and your attendees are staggered throughout the line.

They will all start sitting down at DIFFERENT times. Somebody will sit first, and start eating... ALONE.

By the time the next folks show up, the first person may be halfway finished with their meal.

THEN...whoever shows up to the table LAST will be trying to enjoy their meal while the first person starts to chat them up.

buffet seating order is bad for fundraising profits

The thing that’s lost at this sad, sad table is COMMUNITY. And community is the second most important reason to have an event in the first place... right after fundraising.

Even worse is when your guests who finished eating a long time ago are getting so bored that your emcee needs to start the program, even while people are still in line!

The people in line or still eating will feel rushed.

The people who are done are getting grumpy.

This is not the right mindset for giving.

“But buffets are the cheapest and we want to raise money, not spend it!”

I completely understand, but in the end, any money you save by having a buffet will cost you so much more in lost revenue.

I’ve attended auctions and seen it over and over again.

Unhappy guests give less.

So what’s the better option?

One of the best ways to ELIMINATE chaos and create more community is with a Family Style Dinner.

Our clients who raise their price point just enough to have a Family Style Dinner, have seen it pay off handsomely. Picture this version of the event...

better dining options for live auctions

Everyone is seated together at the same time.

The food comes out to each table as a meal at the same time... in serving dishes just like a big family dinner.

“Hey there! Would you mind passing the potatoes? I’m Kelly, so nice to meet you.”

People are chatting, people are eating together, finishing together.

They’re in rhythm and synced up so everyone is on a similar wavelength.

  • More Community

  • More Giving

And when you create this sense of inclusiveness, your fundraising increases.

By spending a little bit more and going family style, you will see greater returns on your overall fundraising.

Don’t forget. If there’s food, it kills the mood.

Words to live by.

Now, let's go raise some money!

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