Buffets are a cost-effective and quick way to serve meals to large groups and hence extremely popular at corporate events and restaurants. Buffets may appear like free-for-all but the rules of etiquette still apply.
Queues at a buffet can be annoying as everyone wants to serve themselves first, but politely wait for your turn, instead of sneaking up to the counter. Wait for the food to be replenished, instead of scraping the dishes. Eating while waiting/serving is not ideal either. 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 a queue, do not complain about the food/ long wait/ caterer retained, as it is impolite to the host. Instead use this time to network or chat with others waiting in the line with you.
Use the serving utensil/ tongs to serve yourself and not your fingers. No matter how tempting it looks, resist the urge to pop that papad directly into your mouth. One serving utensil is provided per dish and it should be replaced on the holder or back in the dish. Avoid accidents and spillages by bringing your plate closer 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/ safety purposes, avoid leaning over the dishes while serving. Avoid sampling all dishes and over-loading your plate. Instead, exercise choice and serve limited portions of select dishes, such that the food is cleanly arranged on your plate and presents an appetising picture.
Buffets are self-serve meals but the buffet counter staff needs to be thanked, if they serve you. The clearance staff has an extremely tough job and needs to be thanked when they take away your dirty plate from your hand.