Tips to Successfully Navigate the Buffet Table


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  • Stand in line. No butting in or swimming against the tide to speed your journey through. Think of it as a great time to chat with the people in line and establish contacts.

  • Never complain about the line, the food or the wait. Others don’t need you to put a damper on their enjoyment of the event.

  • Use serving utensils when you help yourself. Fingers do not count as serving utensils.

  • Never ever take anything from a serving plate and stick it directly into your mouth. Nor should you start eating from your plate while still in line. Wait until you return to your table.

  • You can return several times (more opportunities to meet more people!) but never fill your plate to overflowing. Several years ago I attended a function for meeting planners at the Guggenheim Museum. They were like pigs at a trough, filling their little plates so high that they had to hold the food to keep it from falling off as they left the line. In a word, disgusting!

  • Try to eat your courses in some acceptable order. It’s unappetizing for others to look at a plate filled with oysters, salad, roast beef and chocolate mousse all at the same time.

  • Because this is a buffet, do not turn this into an "all you can eat" occasion. Nor should you spout off on how to get ‘the most bang for your bucks’ by only selecting those items like lobster or filet that are normally very expensive on an a la carte menu, as I once overheard a banker advise someone. That same banker later threw a fit with the serving staff because they had run out of the tuna sushi when he went back for his third helping. A real class act!

  • Remember that any business dining experience is never about the food; it is always about business.

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