On the surface, a buffet style restaurant appears to be the epitome of convenience; all the food you could ever want spread out in front of you. No browsing over menus or waiting for your food to arrive. No concerns over tiny portions. Perfect, right?
Not quite, my friends. Even though buffets are a fast and convenient way to stuff your face, they do present some big disadvantages over a conventional restaurant. Here are three good reasons to re-think the buffet and stick to a more traditional restaurant.
1. Sanitary Conditions. I’ve probably eaten at every buffet this side of the Mississippi, and one thing they all have in common is that they are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. There is potential for contamination around every corner, from the plates that are stacked next to the food to the tongs that are used to pick up the food. I’ve seen people sticking their heads under the sneezeguards (which I’m convinced are there just for decoration), to unattended children skipping the tongs and grabbing the food with their bare hands. As a self-proclaimed germophobe, I remedy this by taking my plates from way at the bottom of the stack and I don’t take any food until I see a new tray being delivered by a server or restaurant employee.
2. Freshness. The key to getting half-decent food at a buffet is to go at the right time. If you go at the wrong time, you may be forced to fill your plate with food that has been sitting around under an infrared light for five hours. Unfortunately, you have to be a regular in order to know when they bring out the fresh stuff, which means eating a lot of dried-out and stale egg rolls.
3. Variety. You would think that a buffet presents you with countless options, but in most cases the buffet offerings are just a small portion of what’s on the menu at most restaurants. While it’s nice to go to a buffet and sample things, it’s better to go to a restaurant and order something that you know you will enjoy. Buffets are great for large families or picky eaters, but if you know what you want, you’ll always get it served fresher and better at a traditional restaurant.
There are many other reasons why you might want to avoid a buffet. If you are dieting, it’s easy to get carried away and eat more than you should. But even though it may be cleaner to eat your meal from a men’s room floor, sometimes buffets are the only thing around. So, if you must eat at a buffet, always remember to take your plates from the bottom of the stack!