Helping Others…When You Help Yourself!

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:

  1. Always take position at the end of the line. Wait for our turn and don’t push our way through.
  2. 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.
  3. Even if multiple serving spoons are available, don’t reach into the same dish as another diner.
  4. 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.
  5. Do not leave the serving spoon in the dish after serving. Instead, place it on the platter in front of the dish.
  6. If the buffet line servers are helping, never forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. This is a commonly overlooked courtesy at buffets.
  7. Eating in the serving line is inappropriate.If eating while standing, ensure we aren’t blocking access to the buffet table and serving line.
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

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