All you can Eat Buffet Etiquette

April 12, 2016 Leontine Trivia

The words “etiquette” and “all-you-can-eat buffet” are seldom used in the same sentence, and anyone who frequents these dining establishments knows that during busy times, walking up to a buffet is like stepping onto a roller derby rink.  Elbows and expletives fly, and any semblance of class and etiquette is tossed into the dumpster like so many day-old eggrolls.

Practicing good etiquette at all-you-can-eat buffets is necessary if you want to differentiate yourself from the maddening throngs of wildebeests heaping an entire week’s worth of calories onto a single plate.  Following these tips will certainly help.

1. Always use a clean plate for each trip you make to the buffet.  After you have cleared your plate, set it aside and someone will come along shortly to take it away.  Yes, they really will.

2. Always escort your children to the buffet.  We all love children, but not when they are reaching for the food with their bare hands and sneezing on the salad bar.

3. Speaking of sneezing, just because those glass or plastic shields above the food are called sneezeguards  that doesn’t give you free reign to sneeze or cough all over the food.

4. And speaking of sneezeguards, always keep your head above them.  

5. Never take the last food item.  Someone, perhaps hungrier than you, has probably been eyeballing that last crab leg for several minutes before you spontaneously decided to heap it onto your already-full plate.  Have a little patience and the cooks will bring out another tray.  Eventually.

6. Never take the spoon or tongs from one tray and use them to grab food from a different tray.  If we wanted our fruit cocktail to taste like Swedish meatballs, we would’ve put the Swedish meatballs in our fruit cocktail.

7.Usually, traffic at the buffet line moves in one direction.  If everyone else around you is moving from left to right, then you should too.  Don’t butt ahead.  Get in line and follow the crowd.  This is no time to be a rebel.

8. This goes without saying, but wash your hands if you use the bathroom.  Yes, it goes without saying, but it also goes without doing, and that’s why it’s on the list.

9. If in the course of lifting the food onto your plate, some of it should land on the countertop at the buffet, do not push the food back into the bin for someone else.

10.  Always tip your waiter or waitress.  Some people think that since they didn’t order from a menu, they aren’t obligated to tip.  If anything, working at an all-you-can-eat buffet is probably more exhausting than working in a typical restaurant.  So don’t be a cheapskate.

Follow these ten tips, my hungry friend, and you can go to any all-you-can-eat buffet and appear to have some modicum of class, manners, and etiquette.  And always remember, just because the sign says all-you-can-eat that doesn’t mean that you have to.  

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