table plan and space calculation for banquets


Table Plans

The type of table plan used for a particular function depends on
•The host's wish
•Type of function
•Size and shape of the hall where the function is planned
•Number of people to attend For a smaller function and closer interaction amongst the guests, 'U-shape (horse shoe)', or 'T-shape' may be used and for a bigger formal function where large number of people are expected, 'top table with sprigs' or 'top table with round, rectangle, or square tables' table plan may be used. For informal functions, buffet may be considered.

Spacing

There are various styles of table plans for different types of functions. The banquet supervisor should be able to find out if the host's request for a particular plan can be accommodated or not in the area available. Though the hotels have the dimensions of various halls and their capacities for various table plans worked out and presented in the brochure for the client to understand easily, the banquet supervisor or manager should understand the minimum spacing requirement so as to calculate area requirement for a given table plan. The spacing allowed should be comfortable for the guests and the service staff. a specimen of hall dimensions and seating capacities for various table plans of Kempinski Hotel, London.

Minimum space between the tables            6'(72")
(It includes two chair widths: from the edge of the table to back of the chair 2 X 18" = 36" and a gangway between the back of two chairs, or row of chairs           = 36")
The length of the cover                1.7'to 2'(20"to 24")
The width of the cover                1 1/4 (15")
The space between the back of the chair and the wall       3'(36")
The space between the table with the chair and the wall    4 1/2 (54")
(it includes one chair width of 18" and the gangway of 36")


Table Set-Ups

Following are the some of the common table set-ups used in function catering.

Round Table Arrangements (Banquet Style)


In this table plan, only round tables of various sizes are used. It is best suited for meal functions where the guests are required to sit and dine unlike in the standing buffet. Hotels use round tables of different sizes to accommodate the guests. Smaller the round tables used, more the space required, as every addition of a table calls for more area for gangways. To avoid losing much of area in the gangway, it is better to go for round tables of larger dimension. Following are the dimensions of round tables and their seating capacities that are commonly used:
•60" dia accommodates 6 to 8 guests
•66" dia accommodates 8 to 10 guests
•72" dia accommodates 10 to 12 guests most banquet halls use tables of 72"

This plan is also suitable for discussions, brain storming sessions, team building sessions, or for any session that call for close interaction with the members.
For effective utilization of space, we need to calculate the number of round tables that can be accommodated in a given area. Let us assume that a potential client wants to host a dinner for 500 people on round table arrangements. We need to find out if the request of the client can be met or not by calculating the area required to accommodate 500 people. Let us also assume that the dimension of banquet
 hall available is 100' x 60'.
total area available is = 100' x 60'
'The area of a 6' diameter (72") round table is = π r square = 22/7x3'x3'
                                             28.28 sq. ft. area.

Every 6' diameter round table occupies 228.28 sq. ft. area.

We cannot simply divide the total area of the banquet hall by 28.28, because we need to consider space for chairs, gangways, sideboards, etc. The rule of thumb followed by the industry is to multiply the area of each round table by 4' to cover the additional area required for chairs, ways, etc.
Now the area occupied by a single round table of 6' diameter to cover space for gangways and chair is
= 28.28 sq. ft. x 4' = 113.14 sq. ft.
Total number of round tables that can be accommodated in the banquet hall of 100' x 60' is
= banquet area/area occupied by the table
= 6000/113.14 = 53 round tables

Each round table of 6' diameter can accommodate 10 to 12 guests.
Hence, 53 round tables of 6' diameter will accommodate the guests between 530 and 636.
The guests request can be easily met.
The above calculation needs the application of formula for finding out the area of the round tables, and other calculations. Instead, rule of thumb approach can be applied. In this method, the area required can be easily calculated by multiplying the number of guests expected by the area allowance per person. The area allowance varies from style to style depending on the shape and size of the tables.
For round table arrangement the area allowance for 6' dia table is approximately 12 to 13 sq. ft. per person.
So the area required to accommodate 500 people party is 600 to 650 sq. ft.

Crescent Rounds


In this type of plan, the guests are seated at one side of the round table to observe the presentation source. The guests will be occupying half of the circumference of the table which obviously means that this type of plan will be requiring double the area of round table arrangement.
The benchmark is 26 sq. ft. per person. To accommodate 500 people, the minimum area required is 13,000 sq. ft.


Classroom Style
The seating arrangement in this style is similar to classroom with tables to write and chair. This type of plan is recommended for the workshop, seminars, lectures, etc. in which the participants are required to take hints or study the handouts. Tables of 6' or 8' long and 18" or 30" wide are generally used. The chairs used may be with arm rest or without arm rest.
The benchmark calculation for this style of arrangement is 14 to 16 sq. ft. per person if 18 wide tables are used and 16 to 18 sq. ft. if 30" wide tables are used.

Conference or Boardroom Style
It is the plan with rectangle table and chairs around. It is an effective style for small groups for discussion and presentation. In this plan, guests sit around a rectangular table and observe the presentation and interact Ideal plan for board of directors meet, managers meet, etc. where top management is involved it suffers from some drawbacks, if the group is larger, this style of table plan may keep the participants too far apart for effective interaction or communication. The front of the room or presentation source is not clearly defined and the participants at one of the two ends would have to turn their chairs to see the screen or watch the speaker. The area allowance per person is 21 to 23 sq. ft.

Theatre or Auditorium Style
Only chairs are used in this style of plan. Chairs are arranged in rows, such as in theatres leaving adequate legroom between the rows of chairs. Most number of people can be accommodated in this plan. It is suitable only for listening to the presentation and not for taking notes. The area allowance per person is 8 to 9 sq. ft.

U-shape or’ Opened End'
This table plan is made by joining the tables to make 'U' shape and the chairs are placed along the outer side of the table. It is suitable for intense meeting that require interaction. The presentation source is at the front of the U-shape or 'opened end.
The limitation in this style is that the participants can be spread too far for effective interaction in a large U-shaped plan.
The area allowance for the 'U' shaped plan per person is 30 to 32 sq. ft.

Herring or Boardroom Style
This style is similar to class room style with the tables and chairs arranged in a slight angle. The chairs may be placed either one side or both the sides of the tables. This type of arrangement is ideal in making better use of space in small rooms. The area allowance per person in this type of plan is difficult to ascertain because of the angles of the set-ups vary. The area allowance, however, is less than the straight set-ups.

Star or Starfish
In this style table of irregular triangle, hexagon, oval, or any shaped table where one will not be able to identify the presenter is used. This style is suitable for diplomatic, counseling, or sensitive discussions and brain storming sessions, games, etc. where no one is treated as the 'head’. It is difficult to calculate area allowance because this set-up is shaped oddly.

Hollow Square or Open Conference
This style is similar to conference style set-up but with the hollow interior. The table is arranged in a same way as conference style leaving space in the centre. This style is not suited for presentation, but used for board meetings. The limitations are similar to conference style seating. The area allowance per person is 21 to 23 sq. ft.

Top table with spring
It is the arrangement with top table where the host, chief guest, guest of honour, and VIPs are seated and the sprigs where the other invitees are seated. Who will be seated at the top table and sprigs will be decided by the host
The length of the top table is calculated according to the number of people accommodated at the top table. The sprigs should be attached to the top table and always positioned within the length of the top table.

Conference A conference is a meeting of people who "confer" about a topic.
There are different setups which can be used for conference stups

Theater Style
Seats or chairs in rows facing a stage area, head table, or speaker (with no conference table)

Used for
This is the most efficient set-up when the attendees will act as an audience. This set-up is not recommended for food events or if note taking is required.

Set-up hints
This is a very flexible room set-up. Rows can be circular, semi-circular, straight, or angled toward the focal point.
Offset each row so that attendees don’t have to look over the person in front of them (this will increase the space required).
If using banquet type chairs, space them 3” to 6” apart as these chairs are normally narrower than most people’s bodies.
If you have the space, allow for 24” between rows to allow attendees easy movement in and out of the row.

Pros
Good for large groups when reading/writing are not required

Cons
Elevation changes needed for large groups
No writing surface
Minimal group interaction


U-Shape
A series of conference tables set in the shape of the letter U, with chairs around the outside.

Used for
This layout style is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups where there is a speaker, audio-visual presentation or other focal point.

Set-up hints
A minimum of 2’ of table space is required per attendee.
Skirt the inside of the “U” if attendees are being seated only on the outside.
Avoid the “U” set-up for groups greater than 25, as the sides of the “U” become too long and may not promote participation from all attendees.

Pros
Good work space
Good interaction between participants
Ideal when audio-visual or speakers are involved

Cons
Not ideal for larger group


Classroom Style
Rows of conference tables with chairs facing the front of a room (and usually a speaker), providing writing space for each person.

Used for
This room set-up is ideal for note taking, meetings requiring multiple handouts or reference materials, or other tools such as laptop computers. This is the most comfortable set-up for long sessions and allows refreshments to be placed within reach of each attendee.

Set-up hints
Tables that extend beyond the stage or podium should be angled toward the speaker.
Allow for approximately 2’ of space per person at each table. (More space may be required depending on the amount of materials).
Minimum space between tables is 3’. Provide 3½’ if space allows, for ease of movement in and out of rows.

Pros
Presenter can see all participants
Accommodates large groups in less space

Cons
Minimal interaction possible
Participants only see each other’s backs


Conference or Boardroom Style
A rectangular or oval table set up with chairs around all sides and ends.

Used for
This table layout is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups.

Set-up hints
Many facilities offer rooms with permanent conference tables in a variety of shapes.
If these are not available, standard conference tables can be placed together to form a square, rectangle or hollow square.
Remember, the larger the set-up, the harder it is for attendees to see others at the end opposite them.

Pros
Good work space
Good working atmosphere
Good interaction between participants

Cons
Not ideal for audio-visual presentations
Not ideal for speakers
Not ideal for larger groups

Dinner of 140 Guests: 18 Guests at Top Table, and the Rests at the Sprigs Method of calculation: Calculation of the length of top table:

(18 guests x length of a cover 2') = 36'
Number of covers on the sprigs
(Total guests 140 - Top table guests 18) = 122
Number of sprigs required to be calculated as follows remembering the point that the sprigs should be within the length of the top table.
 Assuming two sprigs:
The width of two banquet tables (2 x 2 1/2')  = 5'
Gangway with chairs on both the tables = 6'
Total (5' +6')        =11'
Since the area required is less than the top table length of 36', one more sprig can be tried out
Assuming three sprigs:
The width of three banquet tables (3 x 2 1/2') = 7 1/2'
Two gangways with chairs on both the tables
(2x6')     =12'
Total (7 1/2' + 12')     = 19 1/2'
Since the area required is less than the top table length of 36', one more sprig can be tried out.

Observe that every addition of a sprig calls for extra area of 8 1/2 feet which is due to additional gangway of 6'and the table width of 2 1/2'. Two sprigs need area of 11' and three sprigs need 19 1/2' which is more by 8 1/2'.
Therefore, addition of one more sprig will need 19 1/2' + 8 1/2' = 28'.
This can be verified as given.
Assuming four sprigs:
The width of four banquet tables (4 x 2 1/2') = 10'
Three gangways with chairs on both the tables
(3 x 6') = 18'
Total (10' + 18') = 28'
Since the area required is less than the top table length of 36', one more sprig can be tried out. If we add one more sprig, it will need additional area of 8 1/2' which is 28' + 8 1/2' = 36 1/2'. This area is more than the length of the top table; therefore, the plan can use only four sprigs.
The number of guests seated at each sprig = 122/4
= 30, 30, 31, 31 = 122
Two sprigs will accommodate 30 guests each and other two sprigs, 31 each. The guests at the sprigs are seated on either side. Therefore, two sprigs will have 15 guests seated on the either side, and the other two will have 15 on one side and 16 on the other side. Calculation of the length of the sprig
Maximum covers at one side (16) x length of cover (2') = 32'
Area required to accommodate top table with four sprigs is
(a) Top table side area
Length of the top table = 36
Gangway at both the ends of the top table (2 x 4 1/2) = 9
Total = 45'
(Since all the springs should be within the length of the table, calculation of spring width and gangways is not necessary)
b) Sprig side area
Sprig behind the top table = 4 1/2'
Width of the top table = 2 1/2
Length of the sprig = 32'
Space at the end of the sprig = 3'
Total = 42'
The minimum area required for this plan is = 45' x 42'

Top table with round tables
It is the arrangement with top table and the round tables. Top table is meant for the host, chief guest, guest of honour, and other VIPs and the round tables are for the other invitees.
The length of the top table is calculated according to the number of people accommodated at the top table. The round tables are not attached to the top table and there should be a gangway between the top table and the row of round tables for the waiters to go around and serve. All round tables must be positioned within the length of the top table.
  Dinner of 140 Guests: 18 Guests at Top Table, and the Rests at the Round Tables Method of calculation:

Length of top table:
(18 guests x length of a cover 2') = 36'
 Number of covers on the round tables
(Total guests 140 - Top table guests 18) = 122
 Calculation of circumference of round table
The formula for calculating circumference = πD where re is 22/7
Circumference of 3' round table = π3' = 22/7 x 3' = 9'
Circumference of 5' round table = π5' = 22/7 x 5' = 15.7'
Circumference of 7’ round table = π7' = 22/7 x 1' = 22'
Number of covers that can be accommodated = circumference/ length of cover
Covers at 3' round table = 9'/2' = 4 to 5 covers
Covers at 5' round table = 15.772' =8 covers
Covers at 7' round table = 22'/2'    = 11 covers

Using larger round tables will accommodate more number of covers, thus reducing more space on gangways.
Using the 7' dia tables, it will be possible to use three round tables within the length of top table.
Calculation to know if it is within the top table length
Area occupied by three 7' dia tables =3x7=21'
Area for two gangways (2 x 6')        = 12'
Total area                = 33
Since it is within the length of top table, three round tables of 7' are used.
 Each round table of 7' accommodates 11 covers
Three round tables of 7' dia accommodate = 3 x 11 = 33
Each row of 7' dia tables accommodate 33 guests
Guests to be accommodated on the round tables are = 140 - 18 = 122
Number of rows required                  = 122/33 = over 3 but less than 4 rows.
Therefore, three rows of 7' dia tables will accommodate = 3 x 33 = 99
The rest 23 guests will be accommodated in one row of 5' table
Each 5' dia accommodates 8 covers. 2 will be with 8 covers each and one with 7 covers = 23 covers
Area required to accommodate top table with round tables is
(a)Top table side area
Length of the top table = 36'
Gangway at both the ends of the top table (2 x 4 1/2') = 9'
Total = 45'
(Since all the round tables should be within the length of the top table, calculation of round table dimensions and gangways is not necessary)

(b)Round tables row side area
Space behind the top table
Width of the top table
Three rows of 7' dia tables
One row of 5' dia tables
Gangways
Between the top table and round tables
Gangways between the round tables (3 x 6')
Gangway between the last row of 5' diameter table and wall
Total    = 60'
The minimum area required for this plan is = 45' x 60'
The other table plans used are 'double U' E, V, I, T shapes.
It is recommended to have a separate hall for dining arrangement for the conference or seminar so that the attendees may not be distracted from the noise of the service equipment, movement of the service staff, and the smell of food.


Calculation Of Sprigs For Formal Banquet


No. of Guests on Top Table = 13
Size of Top Table =39'
Number of sprigs = 39/9'        = 4+1
Size of sprig assuming that No, of people are = 200-13   = 187
187 pax to be distributed on 5 sprigs = 187/5      = 37+2
Considering both sides are to be used No. of guests on each side   =38/2= 19
Size of banquet cover = 27" = 2'3"
Size of each spring = 19x 27"-513" = 43
The size of table being = 3'x 3'
Tables required per sprig will be = 43/6' = 7 no. tables
The calculation of sprig and top table is more on approximation not to be dogmatic of distances and size of cover. Leave 9' from door side and 6' from corridor side width of the room is 51' length of room is 42'
Note: The top table is being provided with extra space per cover for enough elbow place and comfort.
The covers are slightly kept apart in case some special effects given on top table like fruit decoration, carvings. Also sometimes PA systems and personal mikes are provided for toasting and speeches. However sufficient and in many places calculations are based on 28"

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