Buffet Etiquette: Four Ways to Conduct Yourself Properly When Eating at A Hotel Buffet


 “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”-Luciano Pavarotti


In the Philippines, eating at a buffet pretty much mimics the scene of a knight laying siege to a castle insomuch that every food item offered is seen as another enemy soldier to be taken down.

Indeed, grabbing a meal at a buffet may resemble a war zone as more often than not, people are often in fear that the food will be taken away before they even get the chance to sample some of it. In other cases, they are afraid that someone would monopolize all of the buffet’s choice items leaving them to take the crumbs. In this regard, many of the buffet diners are of the belief that they should take more than necessary so as to sample as much food as they think their money is worth. After all, they have already paid a premium just to sample a smorgasbord of scrumptious food, why not take advantage of it to the fullest?

Unfortunately, it is this very mentality and irrational approach that deter many prospective diners from eating at the hotel’s buffet. Hotel guests would be of the belief that other diners would behave in such a way that makes them seem like they have not eaten for days (and in some cases, that might just be true). However, this kind of mentality needs to be put to rest as not only is it incredibly unbecoming, but it increases the likelihood of food wastage from all the uneaten excess food you have taken. So, if you have been planning to visit any hotel buffet soon whether that may be in any of the Pampanga hotels or elsewhere, here is what you need to keep in mind:



Some hotels open their buffets before the food is prepared and served. In this regard, guests can freely seat themselves and get comfortable before they start perusing the food offers of that particular day. However, once the food starts rolling out always remember to never sample any of it until the buffet is officially open. Sure, arrays upon platters might have been set out but until the servers tell you that you can begin eating, do not touch the food. Taking food before the buffet is officially open would only stress out the serving and kitchen staff, so be patient. Once a server tells you that you may now commence your meal or if you see a queue by the tables, then go ahead and fall into line. Remember, status and privilege do not apply here, so do not cut in line and wait your turn.


When a food item is short in supply, do not hog all that is left and just take a piece and then move on. Taking everything that is left is an easy way to annoy those who waited in line behind you and can ruffle the wrong feathers at the buffet station. Relax and go easy on it, chances are it will be replenished within the next few minutes or you can ask the server to bring a serving to your table. In taking food items, never use your own utensils and use the serving spoon or forks provided for the dish. After your done, remember to put the serving utensil next to the platter or chafing dish and never leave it on the hot serving tray as it can get hot and burn the fingers of the person next in line to you.


Eating at the buffet is not a contest of who can pile their plates the highest. With this in mind, do not stress your plates by overloading it with food. Take only what you can finish and go back if you wish to have seconds or thirds. Similarly, you should never take a whole plate of food for others in your table as that runs counter to the idea of the buffet. Apart from being unnecessary, taking a plateful of food for others would increase the likelihood of food wastage as there is a likely chance your company would be getting the dish for themselves as well.

Serving Stations

More often than not, hotel buffets have designated special serving stations that would cook hot meals for guests such as the case of the pasta and pizza station. However, keep in mind that there is a limit to what the attendants can provide. Essentially, they cannot realistically prepare all of your special requests. However, if they are straightforward and uncomplicated, special requests can be accommodated so long as the ingredients are in sight, well-stocked and readily available.


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