Food/Drink The Grossest Things About Eating at a Buffet  

Steve Wright
883.5k views 11 items

Ever wondered, "What are the worst things about eating at a buffet?" The answers should start popping into your head pretty quickly: germs, throwing caution to the wind in terms of food safety, the fact that every single buffet looks like it has been frozen in time since 1970 - decor, patrons, staff, and food included.

The buffet seems like a no-lose situation in concept. It provides lots of food, both in variety and quantity, for a cheap price, AND you can refill your plate as many times as you like. But when you go out into the world and visit some of these restaurants, you realize exactly why buffets are gross.

This list of gross things about buffets may make you never want to eat at another Chinese Super King Massive Buffet for as long as you live. Your stomach is probably going to be flipping like a pancake as you realize just how many gross facts about buffets exist.

One Pair of Tongs Can Be Used All Day

One Pair of Tongs Can Be Used ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Grossest Things About Eating at a Buffet
Photo: kennymatic/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

While there are strict rules on food temperature for buffets, there are no such regulations for the items used to serve your meal. Next time you grab a ladle or a pair of tongs at a buffet, take a moment to think about how long they have been out there and how many people touched them before you did.

Alternatively, you could use your hands to serve yourself and get arrested for throwing the serving tongs at a manager, in the style of one Portland, OR woman.

Food Is Often Kept at the Wrong Temperature

Food Is Often Kept at the Wron... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Grossest Things About Eating at a Buffet
Photo:  unserekleinemaus/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

There are very strict guidelines about at what temperature food should be served in order to prevent illness. The FDA advises hot food be kept and served at a temperature of 140 degrees, if not warmer. When you consider some warmers are designed to keep the food at 110-120 degrees, you can see how a buffet could be harming you without even realizing it.

The Food Can Sit There for Hours

The Food Can Sit There for Hou... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Grossest Things About Eating at a Buffet
Photo: skidder/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Timing is everything when hitting up a buffet. While the food may not be of the best quality, there is certainly an optimum time to get it while it is fresh. Ideally, you want to get there within thirty minutes of the buffet opening. If you wait until just before the buffet closes, the food could easily have been sitting there for two or three hours at that point.

The other problem is that food can sit for hours before it ever reaches the table. One manager was fired from Golden Corral when a video emerged showing raw steak being kept outside by the dumpsters.

There Are Dirty Plates Everywhere

There Are Dirty Plates Everywh... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Grossest Things About Eating at a Buffet
Photo:  Cufflinks/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

A research study showed that diners at buffets were less likely to go back for food a second or third time if their dirty plate was left on the table. Buffet owners, in a ploy to maximize their profits, often instruct busboys to leave dirty plates on dining tables until after the diners leave. It's good for business owners because their profits are higher, but bad for customers because they get less value for their money and have to eat in a dining room littered with dirty plates - a truly unappetizing sight.