May 28, 2023

Buffet 101: Top 10 buffet blunders you should avoid

We’ve all seen it. The hotel guest with apparently no clue about the function of the breakfast or dinner buffet. COVID procedures have certainly retuned our awareness of sanitary matters - or should have - with many hotels and resorts closing their buffets for good.

A recent visit to a premium resort reminded me that money and wealth do not beget manners. So, this prompted me to compile a short list of common buffet faux pas.

  1. When opening the big oyster shell heated servers, check if the person standing behind you is waiting to use it too. Hand them the tool, holding the lid until they have it themselves.
  2. It may be tempting but don’t fondle every item of fruit in the basket, especially fruit like apples and grapes where guests may be eating the skin. 
  3. Yes, use hand sanitiser. I know we’ve heard arguments about its effectiveness, but at least it demonstrates your awareness and wards off accusatory glares from germophobes.
  4. If there are serving tongs provided, use them. Especially for breads and pastries where you can easily brush against adjacent rolls in the basket. For hot food, don’t mix the tongs.
  5. I love those bread tables where you can cut your own slices off the big crusty loaf. But you see that heavy serviette draped over the loaf? Yes, don’t handle the bread directly.
  6. Buffets are great fun for children and a perfect opportunity to teach them serving skills. Help them by all means, don’t let them run amok making all kinds of crazy concoctions.
  7. If you have a bit of a sniffle or tickly throat, stay the heck away from the buffet. Please. If you can stifle your urge to cough or sneeze, stay seated and get someone to serve it for you.
  8. It may seem like common sense but don’t move aggressively among those at the buffet servery. It’s too easy to send someone’s pad Thai flying. Spacial awareness people.
  9. What do you do when there is only one item left on the tray? I would look around to make sure no one else has their eye on it. If so, offer it to them and alert staff to bring a fresh tray.
  10. Queuing can be tricky as it’s always rude to queue jump. If someone is really bogging down the process ask them kindly if they don’t mind you moving past. If it’s you, invite them to do so.
I’m sure you can think of many other tips and tricks. What are your favourite buffet hacks?

Image Source: Daily Mail UK

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