Start with the room-temperature ingredients first then work to the refrigerated toppings and then the frozen ingredients.
Make sure to offer both regular bowls along with waffle bowls and cones for variety and place them at the head of the table so people can grab those first.
Place all of the toppings into individual bowls and make sure they all have their own spoon for serving so you don’t cross-contaminate them.
Place any cold ingredients (ice cream, whipped cream, sauces) in a tub, bowl or on a tray of ice to keep them as cold as possible for as long as possible.
Assemble the sundae bar based on the space you have available. If you have the room to place the table in the center where people can walk around it on both sides – then place the ice cream in the center and then surround it with the toppings. If your space requires the table to be against a wall – assemble the taller items in the back and the shorter, smaller bowls in the front so everything can be reached easily.
Don’t forget spoons and napkins. Those go at the end of the buffet so people can grab them once they are done assembling. If you place them at the beginning, then they just have more to hold while they put their sundae together and it can be frustrating. Best to leave their hands as free as possible for creating.
Make sure to leave enough space on the table for people to set their bowl down while they are adding toppings. You don’t want the table to be so full of goodies that there isn’t any space for creating.