Buffets are a cost-effective and quick way to serve meals to large numbers and hence, extremely popular at corporate events and in restaurants. While buffets may seem like a free-for-all, the rules of etiquette still apply.
Queues at a buffet can be annoying, as everyone wants to serve themselves first but do politely wait your turn instead of sneaking up to the counter. Wait for the food to be replenished instead of scraping the dishes. Eating while waiting your turn or serving is avoidable behaviour.
Buffets serve larger numbers and are not to be compared with the experience associated with fine-dining in a sit-down meal. While standing in the queue, stop complaining about the food or caterer or the long wait as it is impolite to the host. Instead use this time to network or chat with the others waiting with you.
Use the serving spoon or tongs to serve yourself and not your fingers. Resist the urge to pop that papad directly into your mouth, no matter how tempting it looks. One serving spoon per dish is provided and should be replaced on the holder or back in the dish.
Avoid accidents and spillages by bringing your plate close to the serving dish. When deciding what to eat, don’t sniff the food, instead take a small amount and return if you like it. For hygiene and safety purposes, avoid leaning over the dishes while serving yourself.
Avoid sampling all dishes and over-loading your plate. Instead, exercise choice and serve limited portions of select dishes, such that the food is neatly arranged on your plate and presents an appetising picture.
Buffets are self-serve meals but the buffetcounter staff needs to be thanked if they serve you. The clearance staff have an extremely tough job and need to be thanked when taking away the used plate from you.