Buffet Etiquette

by admin on August 1, 2012

1.    Wait your turn in line like everyone else.   Butting in ahead of others or sneaking back between people to grab one more roll is rude.   And it is really rude to butt in front of first time buffeters to get seconds of something you’ve already gone through the line and eaten.

2.  Do not touch buffet food with your fingers.  Tongs and serving utensils are there to transfer food from the buffet to your plate.  Use them.  That also means you cannot take food from the buffet and pop it into your mouth.

3.  No licking your fingers. fiddling with your hair, scratching your crotch or butt, or wiping your nose while in the buffet line.  None of us watching you do this will want to touch the tongs after you do.

4.  Exercise some self control.   A buffet is not a free for all, “pile it a mile high on the first pass” occasion.  This is not a competition to see who can take the greatest amount of food at one time.  Take a moderate amount of food for a *normal* serving, go to your table and eat it.  If you want seconds and thirds, you can go get more after all the guests have had a chance to access the buffet the first time but to pile your plate to overloading on the first pass may mean there is none for those guests waiting in line behind you.

One of the most astonishing acts of selfishness I have seen is when a young man took the equivalent of 4 servings of a breakfast egg dish that were left in a steam pan thus leaving the last three men behind him with absolutely no egg dish whatsoever.   Yet another bad example I witnessed was a potluck buffet for a wedding reception where the first 2/3 of the guests transformed themselves into pigs and piled their plates to overflowing and literally left nothing for the last 30 guests.  I know this because I was the second to the last person to go through the buffet line and there was absolutely nothing to eat.   Every pan, dish and bowl was scraped clean.

5.  Keep the line moving.  If you are one of those people who picks up each individual piece of lettuce and examines it before putting it on your plate, please do the rest of us a favor and wait til the end to go through the buffet.   Ditto for picking up pieces of meat on the buffet and wondering what it is as you hold it aloft.

6. Clean plate each time, please.

 

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Serena August 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. As a former restaurant manager, I used to cringe watching some patrons go through the buffet line. Top pet peeves: grabbing food with bare hands and licking fingers before using a serving utensil. After some of the things I’ve seen I’ll never eat off of a buffet again, as some folks are just so unsanitary. Staff work hard to change out utensils and correct problems when they see them, but they can’t possibly see everything. One more note: Please supervise children going through a buffet line. For one, they can get badly burned on steam from the hot end. For another, no one wants to eat out of a dish that a small child has run his/her fingers through, or licked off the utensil and put it back in the pan. Thanks for allowing me to vent. I love your site.

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JuliaB August 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Parents definitely need to accompany their kids through a buffet line. I always go with my kids, ask what they’d like, and put it on their plates. If they’re not sure, I serve them just a bite so they can try it. They know better than to hog all the good stuff and also that the correct answer when offered something unappetizing is, “no, thank you”. You never say anything rude about a foods’ appearance, especially at a potluck!

One funny buffet story: When my older son was about 3, we went to a fancy Sunday brunch at a local hotel. He saw the big beautiful fruit display and was pretty excited about it. While we waited in line, he commented that he loves pineapple! and it’s his favorite! and there’s pineapple in there! The man in front of us got to the fruit salad and proceeded to pick out every last piece of pineapple for himself. The incredulous look on my kid’s face was priceless. To his credit, he didn’t say anything, just accepted my offer of melon and grapes. What was that man thinking?

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Kimberly August 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Our PTO does a great job managing buffets at work

1. They post someone on the stage, who makes sure that only staff or invited guests get the food

2. They know we are coming in shifts starting with kinder lunch/2nd grade recess at 10:50 am (1/2 of 2nd grade teachers eat then other 1/2 supervise recess) and ending with 5th grade lunch at 12:30. They plan out the food portions and refill at the beginning of every other grades lunch (every 30 min because the grades overlap about 15 min

3. Because the whole amount of food isn’t put out at once people judge their shares better and 4th and 5th grade teachers actually get hot food.

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twinkletoes August 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Having a degree in hotel restaurant mgmt and having worked in catering in large hotels I feel I can shed some light…. It is not usually the fault of the caterer when food runs out. Often times this happened with shrimp. The event planner and chef would dictate what a normal portion would be and what was predicted for the number of people for the function and sometimes the host of the function would choose to order less of a certain item (cost) thus running out. But most likely when items ran out it was usually due to a gimmie pig that doesn’t realize (or was not raised properly) they can’t just load their plate up on shrimp. So for the people who say its the responsibility of the venue to have enough food, I strongly disagree with you. The amount of food and cost/price of the food is negotiated long before the event happens. I don’t know any venue that tells a host “we will just bill you after your event is over and you won’t know the price until then” nor would I know anyone host that would agree to that either. When food runs out at a function, the host is asked if they would like to add more of a particular item. Typically, caterers do not anticipate an attendee will consume 2 pounds of shrimp alone (yes it happens, I’ve stood witness) so there is no way to predict for this or have food on-hand with out charging the host). Like it was mentioned before for certain items it is better to have someone serving the item vrs a free for all.

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Cat Whisperer August 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Admin said: “Imo, people who know they are big eaters should wait to go through the buffet at the end after everyone else has had a chance to get served. ” I assume this was regarding LovleAnjel’s input about his/her family of gargantuan meat eaters.

IMO, people who know they are big eaters who are going to a special event buffet where satisfying their gargantuan appetite could cause problems should make a pit stop at McDonalds or some other purveyor of fast food and stuff their faces full of cheap eats before they go to the special event buffet! As admin said, it is totally unfair to the caterers and event planners to expect them to have to adjust their planning to cope with with people who eat far more than is considered reasonable or normal.

LovleAnjel’s mother should have insisted on the family stopping for eats somewhere else before they went to the buffet. If, as LovleAnjel’s post indicated, there were guests who didn’t get to have any meat at all because LovleAnjel’s family ate more than their fair share, it didn’t matter if the plates LovleAnjel’s family filled were clean. They were still etiquette transgressors, because they deprived others of a fair share of the food. If they could reasonably expect that eating as much as they wanted would cause others at the event to go without food, then they should have pared down their expectations (and appetites) by eating ahead of time so they wouldn’t need to deprive others. That would be the good-mannered alternative.

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MonkeysMommy August 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm

This reminds me of the time I was hosting a cheerleading banquet for my squad one year at a buffet pizza parlor. It was still open to the public, with us in a banquet room. The server had just put out 2 fresh desert pizzas about the time several of my girls and myself approached the line hoping for a slice of chocolate chip pizza. The couple in front of us proceeded to pile every last slice of both pies on their plates and plates “for their kids”, leaving me with a group of teary eyed 8-10 year old girls with empty plates. I am ashamed to admit I may have made a nasty remark over it that resulted in the couple becoming very defensive (not the appropriate choice as the coach and adult in charge) but I could NOT believe what pigs these people were. Most people are lost on buffet etiquette here in the south. Don’t even get me started on Golden Corral or Ryan’s!

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Roslyn August 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

It would be nice if vegetarian friendly items were marked in some way so vegetarians know.

Also, don’t put meat into every single vegetable dish just in case someone might be a vegetarian and no one was aware.

I am not vegetarian (although I was raised vegetarian) but my husband’s step-mum is and I’m sick at how many family functions she attends that she eats next to nothing or ONLY what she brings herself because meat is in EVERY single salad, bean etc. Come ON, to have three potato salads and all three have chopped sausage and ham in them. And yes, the entire family is aware that she is vegetarian, they just don’t care.

For the big Christmas dinner I used to make a large lasagna with meat sauce. I now make a veggie delight lasagna and even the meat eaters love it.

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Justme August 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

The comment about the family of big eaters made me wonder if they have any self control. I don’t know if I could brag about cleaning a buffet out of food. Surely one of you had to notice that you all were taking ALL the meat?!?!?
I wouldn’t imagine it being funny at all.

My family has a few cousins, and their wives, that when coming to a potluck, bring one thing (the last time, a bowl of corn, one can) for 6-8 of them and proceed to eat like there’s no tomorrow.
Really, act like an adult, take a little and eat like normal at home.

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Maggie August 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm

The only people who complain about the “food people” are people who are trying to grab their share along with several other people’s share!

When the first of my group of friends got married, she and her fiance (and families) couldn’t afford a big reception. Several friends were not invited because the MOTB insisted on inviting very distant relatives who had never even met the bride – her immediate family was very, very small and I knew all of them. The few of us who were invited were put on the “corner” table with a few other odds’n’ends guests. For the buffet, each table was called up in turn and, yes, our corner table was to be last. By the time it was our turn, the “family” had firsts and seconds, eating all the food and leaving our corner table with nothing, except a few lettuce leaves used for decoration. When the happy couple visited our table asked whether we enjoyed the buffet, we looked at each other and lied to them. We didn’t want to spoil their day by saying we hadn’t eaten. A few relatives also complained that there wasn’t free free-flowing champagne and how it wasn’t a good bash because of that (“not worth coming to”). Sometimes distant relatives should be kept distant.

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Maggie August 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Sorry, typo in my previous message. “Food people” should read “food police”.

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Cat Whisperer August 2, 2012 at 12:09 am

I would add one other rule about buffets/potlucks, but this one isn’t directed at the consumers; it’s directed at the organizers:

For gosh’s sakes, if the food is supposed to be served at a certain time, then get it out there on time!

The two worst displays of group manners I’ve ever seen in a buffet setting both involved situations where the food was put out on the buffet more than an hour and a half later than attendees had been told it would be put out. If you keep a roomful of people who were already hungry and anticipating food waiting for an hour and a half or longer, I can guarantee that the result would shame a school of hungry sharks in a feeding frenzy. Even people who normally have good manners and restraint are likely to behave poorly under such provocation.

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SoftlySoftly August 2, 2012 at 1:13 am

My pet peeve is the “chocolate fountain” at buffet restaurants that all-but-beckon small children to DRENCH their dirty, chubby, hands in the flowing, liquid chocolate. I’ve watched parents laugh and point as their little monsters contaminated the ENTIRE contents and then licked the results from their hands, smeared the rest on the previously-white buffet table linens, and made NO effort to clean their “little angels” mitts as they ran rampant through the restaurant getting everyone and everything dirty and sticky in the process.

I know, kids will be kids, but the scenes at those kind of places have made me swear off those kind of places forever.

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The Elf August 2, 2012 at 8:04 am

Re: Food police.

When servers/caterers are food police in a way that the admin is talking about “Take only one dessert” or serving dishes themselves, that’s fine. But nothing gets my dander up like private food police.

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LovleAnjel August 2, 2012 at 9:38 am

@Puzzled,
I was very young at the time (maybe 8?), so no, I couldn’t reign myself in. That’s why my mother hung over me and my siblings to make sure we didn’t overload our plates. I remember feeling like I was only eating a snack instead of a “real” dinner. We also have cousins and uncles who are big meat eaters, and my mom could not tell them to reign it in, that wasn’t her place. Sorry I gave the impression that just my immediate family wiped everything out – it was the whole extended clan. Basically half the guests.

@Justme,
We didn’t empty the whole buffet. There were a ton of sides, salads, and desserts left over at the end. I have no idea if they had multiple trays of those and none of the meat or what, but the rest of the items were replenished throughout the night. The meat was not.

@Admin,
I don’t blame my SIL or the caterer. They had no idea. I blame my brother for neither doubling up on the meat nor having a meat carver to distribute the slices.

As an adult, I can control my portion sizes and have no problem taking a small piece and hoping there will be seconds. Turns out I have hypoglycemia – I have to eat snacks before and sometimes during events to keep my blood sugar up. I hope no one acts now as we did when we were 8 years old.

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JuliaB August 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

Chocolate fountains+kids=ick. I cannot imagine letting my kids dive into that and ruin it for everyone else.

And as a vegetarian, I agree with the previous poster who suggested marking veggie/vegan items on a buffet.

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Jo August 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I’m with Puzzled – I cannot STAND seeing small children allowed to go load up a plate without adult supervision. Particularly at places like Hometown Buffet, I have actually witnessed kids doing things like coughing into a dish of food (child’s mouth was right at level with said food), load a plate with salad and then with fingers put several pieces of lettuce back into the bin, etc. Just…NO!

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Laura August 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’ve been to several Korean barbeque places (where you get raw food from the buffet & cook it yourself on hot plates at your table) where they charge you extra if you take food but don’t eat it.

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wallaby August 3, 2012 at 12:42 am

I want to second magicdomino… special occasion buffets are different in my experience.

I attended a buffet wedding reception at a function center last year. It was not at all like attending a buffet at a restaurant. Each dish had a server who carefully portioned out one serve of each dish. You could either accept or decline one serve or each dish. Once everyone had passed through the buffet once, they wheeled everything away. No one got seconds. Special dietary requirements were not accommodated (e.g., I don’t eat meat and so did not accept any of the meat dishes offered, but the server still only ‘allowed’ me one serve of the vegetable dish, etc). I found it kind of bizarre because there was seemingly heaps of food left over, that probably went to waste? I didn’t go hungry, but I guess my overall impression was that it was ‘adequate’ rather than ‘generous’.

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Brockwest August 3, 2012 at 11:59 am

Poached Salmon

I’m not sure if there is something about Salmon, but I’ve seen two incredible displays of behavior concerning Salmon in a buffet line.

I went to a Bar Mitzvah as the friend of the father, who knowing I couldn’t stand long, whispered to me to go to the buffet as it was about to open, and there were 300 who were to eat. I was fourth in line and looked eagerly at the huge smoked Salmon (maybe 2 feet long) on one of those silver Salmon platters. The second person in line took the ENTIRE Salmon, tray and all. Sheesh.

I also went to a pot-luck dinner with a friend who belonged to a church known for it’s eclectic collection of aging hippies. Again, I looked eagerly at the large smoked Salmon the host had provided in addition to all the pot luck contributions. I was back about 20th in line, and was confused that everyone was pulling tupperware out of their purses. To my amazement, they filled their plates high, then FILLED the tupperware also, putting it back in their purses. The Salmon was gone, as was basically everything else.

Finally, I hosted my own party for about 300 professionals in my line of work, all educated and owning their own businesses. I knew my particular crowd loved shrimp, so of the many dishes I had catered, I requested the extra Jumbo shrimp. The caterer said for an extra charge of $200, they would guarantee an unlimited supply of shrimp and I happily accepted. To make the flow easier in my home, I removed all the dining room chairs, so people could easily walk around the table. I had learned the trick from previous buffet parties of putting out smaller plates, so gimme pigs couldn’t take everything in the first pass.
To my horror, after the party was going full swing, I looked into my dining room, and saw one wealthy extremely-obese couple had 1) gone into my personal cupboard in the kitchen and taken out full-size dinner plates, 2) gone to my living room and brought in two chairs and put them against the table, 3) placed the giant punchbowl-size shrimp serving in between them and were chowing down. Anyone that attempted to reach between them to get a shrimp literally heard a gutteral grrring from the couple. They ate every single shrimp….shrimp that had been provided for 300 people. I went to the caterer and explained I had the $200 guarantee for unlimited shrimp and the caterer frustrated, stated, yes, but we’ve never seen THAT before. That one couple ate over 600 dxtra Jumbo shrimp….That wasn’t in the bargain. I thought about it and agreed, that wasn’t in the bargain, so didn’t demand more to be brought. Wow.

Finally, when I was a lot younger, I hosted a wine and cheese party at my home. I got about ten different types of wine, all the way from $10 bottles to $400 bottles, so everyone could enj0y a wine tasting and comparison. To my horror, the First guy in line had brought his personal large German beer stein from home to the party, and poured the ENTIRE $400 bottle into his Stein.
Part 2) I had bought around 100 bottles of wine for the 100 in attendance. Within 1/2 hour, the wine was completely out. I was upset, as it was a party I was hosting, not a Fraternity all-you-can drink affair, but wanted to be a good host, so left my own party to go to the store, and This time a bought a big junky box wine. One of my dishes I had prepared was a fondue, and I would need wine for it.
When I came back, I started to pour the cheap wine in, when a woman stopped me and said I would ruin the fondue. I said that’s all I had. She said, wait a minute, went to my sofa, reached underneath where I saw she had placed a stash of my good wine bottles, and “generously” she said, “use some of this.” Now I’d had it. I didn’t say a word, but reached under the sofa and retrieved the stash. She started to protest that She had taken those bottles from the table for Herself to drink, and I quietly said, “these are for everyone,”, and quickly opened all the bottles at once then walked through the crowd pouring the wines for everyone until the bottles were empty. Sigh.

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kingsrings August 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I’ve worked at places that have had catered events. There was always a problem with food running low or out because of some people who just had to literally pile their plates high with what is clearly advertised as appetizers. That doesn’t mean you make it your dinner. Eat something beforehand if you have a dinner-sized appetite. I really can’t believe people have to be told all these rules beforehand. It’s like manners and courtest go out the door when food is around! It really shouldn’t be necessary to have workers stationed at the buffet areas to police people from being total pigs!

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kingsrings August 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I also want to add that some buffet restaurants like Golden Corral have strict rules that children aren’t allowed to be at the buffet stations unattended. They announce it over the loud speaker constantly and put a stop to it in person if they see it.

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AnnaH August 6, 2012 at 3:50 am

Amen!

And might I ad, if you are a meat eater, please DON’T take food out of curiousity from the trays marked “vegetarian”!

I’ve been to a buffet as a vegetarian. I was almost last in line, but I thought since the people in front of me were meat-eaters, there surely must be some of my vegetarian food left? WRONG! The gimme-pigs in fron of me had not only taken 45 servings of food (for 25 people including me) so that there was only a few lettuce leaves left, they had also taken every bit, but one, of the vegetarian dish!

So I sit down at the communal table with my almost empty platter, with a little iceberg lettuce, some bread and one measly lentil burger. The people next to me have heaped their plates to high heaven and are stuffing their faces with meat. I see that they have also taken the vegetarian food. One of them starts poking at the lentil burger, taking one little bite, and then LOUDLY making yucky sounds and complaining about how disgusting it was. Another person said “I think it’s vegetarian”, and the complainer responded: “well, how was I supposed to know that?!”.
At that point I couldn’t take it anymore, but pointed out to them that every dish was labeled, including the vegetarian one! And that they left nothing for the real vegetarians. They said nothing. I left hungry, whereas the meat eating pigs ended up throwing away food from their plates.

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Missy August 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I actually refuse to go to community/church potlucks because people don’t know the rules. I’ve been to too many where people bring a plate of a dozen cookies and then pile their plates high. During one potluck, I brought an entire casserole and a salad. (This was for a community event where all of us where young students and poor.) I got there and realized that most people had decided that they’d let the “rich” kids bring the meal and just mooch. I got through the line half-way and still ended up with a spoon of two salads and a brownie. The annoying thing was that I sat by two “friends” who hadn’t brought anything and were finishing up their three casserole portions and five side-dishes. They looked me up and down and pronounced that they hated women who starved themselves. They weren’t my friends much longer!

I actually went to a reunion of that group a couple of years back. It was potluck and even though I brought a two casseroles, a monster salad and a dessert, I planned for that to be a snack and figured I’d catch some McDonald’s on the way home. Imagine my surprise when I saw some of my old friends (the ones who stayed friends) showing up with deli platters of sandwiches, five dozen fried chicken breasts and other massive provisions. Someone pointed out that twenty years after the fact, there event still relied on about ten over-planners to make up for the 50 moochers. Yep. The same friends who made snide comments about me being anorexic after being potluck hogs were there with their husbands and handful of children for free food. And sheesh, it’s not like they were poor anymore!

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C August 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I’ll never forget the time I almost freakin’ died at a buffet. Someone about to go through the line offered to go for me to get ONE item I forgot–some grapes. They returned my plate to me with the grapes and heaps of other foods I did not ask for. I was already full from my first time through and I tried to be polite and eating the contents on the second plate. I thought I was going to die of a burst stomach because somebody could not listen when I said JUST GET GRAPES PLEASE. I was unable to enjoy the rest of the event because my stomach was so full that I couldn’t get up and dance. I seriously thought my stomach would rupture and kill me at that party.

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VBR August 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

My friend and I attended a wedding when we were in uni where the reception was a catered buffet, but you had to state your name at the door and you were given a slip of paper with A, B, or C written on. That was how they dictated when (and if) the guests got to help themselves to the buffet. The wedding party and the newlyweds’ immediate families went first, then the “A” list, “B” list, and “C” list. My friend and I were on the “C” list and by the time we were allowed to go, there was absolutely nothing left — no food, no plates, no silverware! We had to sit at a table for two hours where we were the only ones not eating, and everyone we knew who was sitting at or walked by our table asked us WHY we weren’t eating.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we later found out how the hosts had decided which guests would go on which list: The “A” list were the closest friends and adult extended family members. The “B” list were more distant relations, co-workers, etc. And the “C” list consisted of all the children under 16…and any guests whom the hosts knew to be visibly overweight.

Obviously the hosts had had the idea to cut the budget by just making sure there was enough food for the close family and the really “worthwhile” friends and big shots, and all the kids and “fatsos” (such as myself and my friend) could go take a hike.

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Asharah August 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

@wallaby, I could see them portioning until everyone had a chance to go through the buffet once, but not letting people go back for seconds afterwards? Bizarre! Weren’t the people throwing the wedding paying for the food? Or did they get to take home the leftovers.
@Missy, is there anything they can do to ban the freeloaders from coming back?
@C, you are NOT obligated to make yourself sick eating something somebody else put on your plate. You are not five and this person is not your parent. You should have eaten the grapes and handed the plate to finish the rest of the food since they took it.
@VBR, I truly think you would have been justified into walking out with any gift you brought after being treated like that.

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Aunt August 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I went to my nephew’s wedding, and watched a new baby so the mom could eat, so was at the end of the line to get my dinner. I got there to find only baked potatoes and salad left. When I asked the server for the chicken was told this was all that was left.
I could see straight into the kitchen where several plates of full dinner were waiting for the caterer’s staff.
Just then nephew came over to see if everything was OK, and of course I just beamed at him & told him everything was beautiful! It was his wedding, why would I spoil it. I ate at McD’s on the way home, the kids & DH got a milkshake to keep me company.

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Debi B. October 17, 2012 at 12:43 am

As a person who owned her own catering business in the wedding industry AND worked at a hotel where they served a free dinner every night, I have horror stories that could bypass many that I’ve read here. what I have observed in 30 yrs in the biz, is that when you put the word “free” in front of the word “food”, people act like they’ve not eaten in 3 months and that it will be another 3 months before they eat again. I’ve learned there are 2 types of folks: (1) those who were raised like me with “Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean you have to pig out. Leave some for the next guy.” and (2) those who proclaim “well, hell, it’s FREE! Let’s stock up!!!”

I’ve seen little old ladies pick up baked potatoes with their fingers and when I point out the tongs to them, they tell me, “Oh that’s alright.” Uh, NO, gramma, it isn’t!!!

The worst story is a hotel story. It was hot wings night and the owner of the hotel chain happened to be in-house. A guest took one of the trays (used to carry your plate(s), silverware, drink, etc) and FILLED it with about 200 hot wings! The owner made a declaration right then and there that we were to remove those trays from ALL hotels.

Another time, we found that some guests had left some “luggage” in the lobby when they checked out. This “luggage” consisted of a number of our plastic laundry bags (slightly bigger than the plastic grocery bags at Walmart) filled with 200 wings, 80 breakfast sausages, 40 yogurts, and one other item that I can’t remember. 4 bags of food and we found them laying in one of the lobby chairs where the guest had forgotten them. As one intimately familiar with health dept codes, I KNOW the in-room refrigerators are not big enough to hold this much food, so I had to wonder if they were REALLY going to eat this food that was not kept in food-safe temperatures.

I think my 15-yr old daughter put it best to me when she worked for me in my catering company: “Mom ….. people are pigs!”

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Missy November 16, 2012 at 3:53 am

Your buffet etiquette is quite right! At our Masonic Christmas party, there are about 80-90 people all seated at tables (each table held about 6 people). Everybody bought food and it was arranged beautifully in the centre of the hall. The Grand Master told tables 1 & 2 to head up first and then next 3 & 4…etc, etc. A group of people from the other end of the room decided that they were hungry, and these ‘pigs’ decided to push in and grab food, before the first lot had finished. What I can’t believe is that these were past master Masons and their wives. These gentlemen are supposed to be well versed in etiquette (motto being “Making good men better) . Not only that, but they came back for 2nds and 3rds. My husband was horrified. My motto; wait your turn, it will happen.

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NostalgicGal December 29, 2012 at 3:47 am

Late comment, but my jaw is still hanging at Brockwest’s post. (and another story of my own)

Extra Jumbo Shrimp, average 18/lb. That is raw, shell on, vein in. Once done unto, you get about half weight net yield. 34# of shrimp at 18 per, makes 612 shrimp. Deveined shelled cooked, that is about 17# of shrimp. 8 and a half pounds of shrimp a person is more than the Big Texan Steak Challenge. (that is a shrimp cocktail, dinner salad, 1 texas toast, one baked potato, and the 4.5# (72oz) steak). And they say about 1 in 6 that tries that finishes it. (some special about it served one dinner like that to a family of four and it was enough to feed two adults, a teen and a preteen)

I went to one of my club’s ‘night out’ where there was a lady hired to cater ‘smothered baked potatoes’ and had a ‘top your own’ bar. Now the woman quoted the job on number of heads/servings ordered and made the toppings accordingly. Trust me the selection variety was generous; and I was about the last one to arrive and sit, and they’d ordered for 30. I got potato #29 I believe. Most of the toppings were gone, but I’m a simple smotherer so I found enough to be happy and I will say about ‘normal foodservice portion size’ amounts.

As I sat down to eat, I heard from some of the rest, that the topping bar had run out less than halfways through… and the caterer had to bust some to make/get more to restock the bar… and she was understandably upset, but. And the last few before me had been upset yet because again, topping amounts didn’t hold up. Okay so they all had some baked potato with their main course of toppings…
I left a really nice tip for the caterer; hopefully she managed to break even on that job if others gave her some tippage too.

I had my turn a few years later on throwing a party for that club and I realized that food service portions and their stomachs weren’t going to agree; added up how many heads, ordered a lot more generously on the food than sounded sane; and we didn’t run out. Aka 2.5x … Most of them ate every scrap they took too-no purse tupperware. No I don’t think food service estimations were skimpy, this was a catered party at my expense and the caterer couple shook their head when I ordered like that. I had two meals worth left…. Oh, another thing, I harped, whined, pleaded, and kept bringing it up you MUST RSVP as I had to order food, and if you don’t RSVP there will be no meal for you. Period. Through three meetings. Put a notice in the community events column in the paper, that ran twice before the event (weekly paper) And had someone help me with call everyone that had NOT two days after paper came out and five before the event (headcount/amount deadline day) and try to get them to tell me… I ordered three meals more (at that 2.5x) and just had to have three more call at last minute. Like the day of. And I had one call to cancel (flu) the day of… hence I had two servings worth left over to take home and feed my DH. I do know that my turn at hostessing for them is over with.

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NostalgicGal January 1, 2013 at 2:31 am

One forgotten comment about the catered meal and the RSVP…. total with the three that called at last minute and the one that cancelled, 14 net guests. Three had to call on the day of the event. Out of 14. (total pool of about 30 that could come, 12 affirmed on cutoff day after 3 months of warnings, three called day of, and one cancelled day of)
I understand how wedding planning and parties can go sideways over why won’t anyone confirm!!!!!

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Linda June 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

Unfortunately, we have a huge food hoarder here at work. Several lunch meetings are scheduled, and food (sandwiches, pizza, etc.) is set up buffet style. I honestly cannot believe the trashy behavior this one administrative assistant displays! She completely violates etiquette rule #4…. Then if food is left over, she feels it is her right and entitlement to take it home! This is food the COMPANY paid for, and normally we will refrigerate leftovers for colleagues to have the next day. No one in management will talk to her – it is almost as if they don’t want to make waves. Any ideas??

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