Buffet / Smorgasbord / All-You-Can-Eat etiquette

Most have us have seen the standard buffet All-You-Can-Eat restaurants. Many people like buffets because it means that you can choose your own plate, eat until your heart is content, and come back for “seconds” of the good stuff if you like.

The whole concept is decent, based on the fact that:

a) You have some say on what is served to you, based on the look of the food item

b) You can choose how little or much you want of the food items available

c) You can keep coming back for more as long as you are still hungry

d) The buffet / All-You-Can-Eat price is generally affordable… Less than $20 per person.


From the restaurant owner’s perspective, this is a very dangerous game. Yes, some people will definately eat much less than the buffet price. However, those people who are (for the sake of argument) say “pigs” who overload their plates, eat until their stomaches are stretched to the max, and even waste food unnecessarily… ruin the business plan completely.

There have been even some fraternity initiations that have taken place at all-you-can-eat buffets, where the business proprietor has had to foot the bill, simply by having to live up to his advertised offering.

Since this has turned into more “the restaurant gives, and the customer takes” scenario, many buffet / smorgasbord owners will deliberately do things like:

a) Water down sauces

b) Re-heat and re-serve expired food

c) Over deep fry, and serve over-breaded items, since they expand in your stomach

d) Sprinkle MSG over almost everything (Monosodium glutamate) to which is officially known as a flavor enhancing drug, to make foods taste better

e) Serve the cheapest of meats, instead of expensive chicken breasts or wings, serve drumsticks or theighs, etc.


Now while all this is going on, between restaurant owner and clientel, I have a major complaint:

People who stand in a buffet line, put food on their plate, and rather than wait 5 minutes, they begin eating right there, sampling food from their plate while they wait to get to the next dish.

I want to ask these people… Is there a reason why you must eat, right there in the buffet line, rather than wait 3 or 4 minutes for you to return to your table?

Why do you feel so comfortable chowing down right infront of me, with your fingers, with no cutlery whatsoever? Smacking your chops, eating with your mouth open, acting as if you are home, in your own kitchen?

This is a public place dammit. Have the decency to return to your own table. Sit down, put a napkin over your lap, and eat privately at your own table.

I really don’t want to see how impatient you are, that you must feel comfortable standing in a buffet line slopping down food, because you are so desperate to eat, you don’t care who is watching you..

People who sample food, or eat food while standing infront of a sneeze guard at a buffet line discust me. They are acting very informal, behaving in a childish manner, and show they have no patience or regard for the public setting they are actually in..

Let’s get away from food for a moment… To reillustrate this point.

Let’s say, you are out in the country. You’re by yourself, and you have a flatulence issue where you feel the need to “fart”. No one is around, you’re alone. So you let it your body’s internal gases release.

At the same time, if you were sitting at a table in a public restaurant, would you feel the same urge to publically fart and let your flatulence arise in public without excusing yourself to the restroom?


Then why is it ok, to publically act like the restaurant is your own kitchen and dining room, where manners mean nothing? Is it really that impossible to load your plate of food and return to your table before you start chowing down?

I find it extremely disrespectful to those around you, to stand in a buffet line, and sample food from your plate, with your fingers, smacking your lips, acting like you are at home.

You are NOT at home, and this is not your own place. Stop acting like a pig, and pick up some manners… It is completely rude to eat before you return to your table.

Is it just me, or should we all act like we’re all standing at home, and no respect of formality should be taken when we are in public?

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Buffet / Smorgasbord / All-You-Can-Eat etiquette

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