A buffet restaurant offers an informal style of service where tables are laden with various dishes and patrons choose from the selection. Buffet restaurants usually serve salads, pasta dishes, freshly baked quiches or pies, vegetables and a selection of meats.
The menu or ingredients on offer may change on a daily or weekly basis.
A Buffet is known throughout the world by many different names; in Netherlands it is called rijstaffel, in Sweden it is smorgasbord and in Denmark it is known as smorrebrod.
Buffet style originated in France where a large sideboard or dresser was used to display the family silverware. These items were an open declaration of the family's wealth, but were too precious to actually be used. Later the meal was also placed on this sideboard to allow guests to view the feast.