Whether at a private party, corporate event, or wedding, all through the Holiday season, buffets seemed to have been the popular way of entertaining and serving food.
And the many ‘interesting’ observations I made at this cost effective and time efficient form of dining service has encouraged me to list my top 10 buffet etiquette guidelines:
- Always take position at the end of the line. Wait for our turn and don’t push our way through.
- Use this time to have a polite conversation with the others waiting rather than just stand restlessly in queue, or worse still staring at people as they serving themselves.
- Even if multiple serving spoons are available, don’t reach into the same dish as another diner.
- Hold a plate as close to the dish as possible while serving to avoid spillages. For the same reason, avoid over loading the plate. Take small servings as second helpings are permissible.
- Do not leave the serving spoon in the dish after serving. Instead, place it on the platter in front of the dish.
- If the buffet line servers are helping, never forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. This is a commonly overlooked courtesy at buffets.
- Eating in the serving line is inappropriate.If eating while standing, ensure we aren’t blocking access to the buffet table and serving line.
- If we’re invited by people to join their table as we leave the buffet line, we may graciously accept or graciously decline, perhaps by saying “Thank you. But I’m sorry. I promised to eat with Carolann and her family.”
- It is polite to use a fresh plate for every food trip. This is because it is considered unhygienic for other diners when serving food onto used plates with a common serving spoon.
- However, if it is a private party being hosted in a restaurant and we know the host is paying by the head, or if we are in a private home, it is considerate to retain our plate.
Practicing appropriate buffet etiquette can help us all enjoy a myriad of cuisines without discomfort or embarrassment, and make this trendy style of eating a pleasant affair!