The One Thing You Should Never Do at a Buffet

From The Blog

Picture this: you’re at your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet, ready to indulge in a smorgasbord of delicious dishes. But hold on there, buckaroo! Before you dive in, there’s one cardinal sin you must avoid at all costs. It’s a mistake so egregious, so unforgivable, that it can ruin the buffet experience for you and everyone else. Buckle up, because we’re about to reveal the biggest blunder you should never make at a buffet.

1. Double-Dipping

Let’s start with the most heinous offense of all: double-dipping. This is when you use a serving utensil to put food on your plate, take a bite, and then use the same utensil to serve yourself more food. It’s unsanitary, it’s gross, and it’s a surefire way to cross-contaminate the entire buffet. Just imagine all the germs and bacteria from your mouth mixing with the communal food. It’s enough to make anyone lose their appetite.

If you’re guilty of double-dipping, stop it right now. Use a clean plate and utensils for each trip to the buffet, and never ever let a serving spoon that’s touched your mouth go back into the food. It’s not just about protecting yourself from germs, but also about being considerate of other diners. No one wants to eat food that’s been tainted by someone else’s saliva.

So next time you’re at a buffet, remember: one utensil, one plate, one trip. It’s not rocket science, folks. Just use common sense and basic hygiene, and everyone can enjoy the buffet without worrying about catching a nasty bug.

2. Eating in Line

Another major no-no at buffets is eating while you’re still in line. We get it, the food looks irresistible, and you just can’t wait to dig in. But munching on your plate while you’re standing at the buffet counter is not only rude, but it’s also unsanitary. You’re hovering over the food, potentially dropping crumbs or even worse, drool, onto the dishes below.

Plus, eating in line holds up the queue and inconveniences other diners. No one wants to wait behind someone who’s too busy stuffing their face to move along. It’s inconsiderate and selfish, plain and simple.

The solution? Wait until you’re seated at your table to start eating. It’s not that hard, people. You’re not going to starve to death in the 30 seconds it takes to walk back to your seat. And if you’re really that hungry, grab a roll or a small appetizer to tide you over. Just don’t make a spectacle of yourself by pigging out in line.

3. Overloading Your Plate

We know, we know. It’s called “all-you-can-eat” for a reason. But that doesn’t mean you should treat the buffet like a challenge to see how much food you can pile onto one plate. Overloading your plate is not only wasteful, but it’s also kind of gross. No one wants to see a mountain of food teetering precariously on a tiny plate.

Plus, when you pile too much food on your plate, you’re more likely to end up with a jumbled mess of flavors that don’t necessarily go together. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your taste buds. You might end up with a mouthful of shrimp and chocolate cake, and trust us, that’s not a combination anyone wants to experience.

The key to buffet success is moderation. Take small portions of the dishes you want to try, and if you like them, go back for seconds. It’s better to make multiple trips to the buffet than to end up with a plate full of food you won’t eat. And if you do find yourself with leftovers, don’t be a hero. Just leave them on your plate and move on. The buffet staff will take care of the rest.

4. Ignoring Serving Utensils

Serving utensils exist for a reason, people. They’re not just there for decoration. Yet somehow, there are always a few buffet-goers who think it’s perfectly acceptable to use their hands to grab food directly from the serving trays. News flash: it’s not. In fact, it’s downright unsanitary and rude.

Think about it. You wouldn’t want someone else’s grubby hands all over your food, would you? Of course not. So why would you do it to others? Using the serving utensils provided is not only more hygienic, but it’s also just common courtesy.

And while we’re on the subject of serving utensils, let’s talk about using the right ones for the right dishes. Don’t use the tongs meant for the salad to grab a piece of fried chicken. That’s just asking for a greasy, slimy mess. Pay attention to the utensils provided and use them accordingly. Your fellow diners will thank you.

5. Cutting in Line

Buffet lines can be long and slow-moving, especially during peak hours. But that doesn’t give you the right to cut in front of others. Cutting in line is not only rude, but it’s also unfair to those who have been waiting patiently for their turn. It’s a surefire way to make enemies at the buffet.

If you find yourself in a long line, resist the urge to cut in front of others. Take a deep breath, maybe grab a drink from the bar, and wait your turn. It’s not the end of the world if you have to wait a few extra minutes for your food.

And if you’re with a group, don’t try to save spots in line for your friends. That’s just as bad as cutting in front of others. If someone needs to use the restroom or grab a drink, they can rejoin the line when they’re done. It’s not rocket science, folks.

6. Hoarding Food

We get it, the crab legs are delicious and you want to make sure you get your fill. But that doesn’t mean you should hoard all the good stuff for yourself. Piling your plate high with a mountain of shrimp or taking the last slice of prime rib without considering others is just plain selfish.

Remember, a buffet is a communal experience. There’s plenty of food to go around, so take only what you can reasonably eat and leave some for others. If you’re really craving a particular dish, go back for seconds instead of taking it all at once.

7. Forgetting to Tip

Just because you’re serving yourself at a buffet doesn’t mean you can skimp on the tip. Buffet servers work hard to keep the food stocked, the tables clean, and the drinks flowing. They deserve to be compensated for their efforts, just like any other restaurant server.

As a general rule, you should tip 10-15% of the total bill at a buffet. If your server goes above and beyond, feel free to tip more. And if you’re unsure about the tipping policy, just ask. It’s better to err on the side of generosity than to stiff your server.

Buffets can be a fun and delicious way to sample a variety of dishes, but they also come with their own set of rules and etiquette. By avoiding these common mistakes and being a considerate diner, you can ensure a pleasant experience for yourself and those around you. So go forth and buffet responsibly, my friends. And always, always remember to tip your server generously – even if they didn’t bring your food directly to the table. They work hard behind the scenes to keep that buffet running smoothly, and they deserve all the thanks (and tips) they can get.

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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