Friday, October 28, 2011

Rules for Buffet Staff and Management

We have looked at buffets from the start of this site primarily from the view point of the people who dine at them. I want to turn that attention now toward the people who manage them and work at them. After a few collective not so great experiences, I feel that it is time for a set of rules for those who serve the public at a buffet. It seems odd to me that such a list is necessary, as these people are doing a job and at some level - whether it is self-pride in doing a job well or a manager making sure that everyone does their job well - people who are paid to do a job would do it in a way that would benefit the business and in turn keep their job. At some buffet restaurants, there is no question that this is how things are, but there are some - and I am not going to name them now - that need perhaps to have it spelled out for them - the basic expectations of the people who come to the restaurant and pay for a meal.

So - you will find some of these just plain common sense, but as with the Rules of the Buffet for diners, sometimes plain common sense is just overlooked. This will be a continuing list - this is by far not complete and will be added to as we go along. Also, this list is not in any specific order. Just because one rule comes before another does not make it any more important. They are all of prime importance.


1. Everything on this list of rules is the responsibility of every employee of a buffet restaurant. If you are not authorized to do what is necessary, immediately get someone who is.

2. Make sure that there are plates and silverware always available. When the number of plates or any particular utensil starts to get low, bring out more immediately. Do not wait for them all to be gone.

3. The temperature of food must be kept at a specified level - hot foods must remain hot and cold foods must remain properly gold. Check the serving trays regularly with a food thermometer to make sure temperatures are correct. (This is a Board of Health regulation, but it seems that some buffets don't pay much attention to it.)

4. When a tray of food is half full, alert the kitchen that more is needed. Do not allow any tray to become empty.

5. Stir the trays of food regularly around the entire buffet. Do not allow any tray to become dry.

6. At least one employee needs to be assigned the job of walking around all serving bars and inspecting the food.

7. Any item that does not appear presentable to eat should be removed immediately.

8. Parents with children should be told when entering that children under 12 must be accompanied to the food bars and may not go up alone. Signs of reminder need to be posted at the food bars.

9. If there is a carving station, a carver must be present at all times and within sight of the carving station - ready to serve the next person who steps up without delay.

10. A manager or supervisor should always be visible in the restaurant - and keeping an eye on employees in both the dining room and at the buffet.

11. Finished plates need to be picked up from a table promptly. Plates should never have to be stacked up on a table before they are picked up.

12. If beverages are served at the table, table staff should ask diners if they would like a refill as soon as the glasses are just a quarter full.

13. Table staff should introduce themselves to the diners at their table when the diners first sit down.

14. Every serving tray must have its own serving piece.

15. When an employee sees that a serving piece has been placed in the wrong tray, it should be picked out immediately and replaces with a clean serving piece.

16. Items that will drip should be placed at the front of the buffet server and not behind other items that they will drip into when served.

17. The dining room needs to be kept clean throughout the day. Serving area counters need to be wiped down and floors need to be kept clean of food items dropped including around and under tables.

18. Correctly label every item out on the buffet. If an item changes in a location, change the label at the same time.

19. If beverages are not included in the buffet price - and drinks are self-service - if a dinner is seen taking a beverage or there is a beverage on the table that has not been paid for, report this to a manager immediately and the manager should speak with the customer.

20. Smile at all times. At least look like you enjoy your job.

21. Managers need to anticipate a busy night and prepare accordingly with food on hand, food being cooked, and an adequate number of employees on duty to handle the business.

22. Managers need to make sure the kitchen staff is keeping up with the demand at the serving bars and make sure they are keeping ahead of need.


As I said, I am sure there will be more coming. If you would like to contribute to this list, please email me through the link at the side of the page or leave a comment. If you leave a comment please understand that I will take your suggestion from the comment and not publish the comment. If you would like credit for the "rule", let me know and I will include a screen name of your choice with the rule.


Writer said...

We are getting some additional rules from readers and these will be added to this list of rules for buffet staff and management in the next several weeks. Check back to see your "rule". As stated in the article, comments with new rules will not be posted, but your "rule" will be added as we go along. Thanks to all who are contributing!

Anonymous said...

On November 16, 2011 the two local Golden Corral all-you-can-shovel in buffets offered a free dinner for military veterans.

No proof of veteran status required; one's declaration of being a vet was fine.

The horde attending was HUGE with a lengthy line from the cash register to outside but it moved surprisingly quickly.

I am unsure if veterans accompanied by a mate had to pay for the non-vet guest.

I did not see anybody handing over money but I did not look for any transactions.

The line, as mentioned, moved along surprisingly quick with ample employees to assist the movement of visitors.

Many solo vets and many couples with a minority of three or more visitors in a group.

An employee near the front of the line asked solo and couples if they were willing to share a table.

"Sure" was a common reply and I was seated with a husband/wife pair and one other solo guest and we were seated at a table for four.

We had a GREAT time visiting and eating!!!

The line at the buffet where the yummy food was grabbed moved surprisingly quick and the tub contents holding the food was stocked quickly when the amount within dwindle.

The chefs hustled!!! The folks "waitressing" were attentive and regularly visited tables to fill drinks and assist if needed and cleared used dishes quickly.

The meal was free and economic times are very tough/rough hereabouts so I tipped the younger gal assigned out table five bucks.

I hope others were also generous.

I was extremely impressed with Golden Corral and their employees/managers/etc. for how well they handled the human herd present.

I also was impressed how friendly the crowd present was.

There was a LOT of conversation during trips to the buffet and while grabbing grub yet, folks kept moving or stood to the side to allow a constant flow of humanity to and from from food to table and vice versa.

I had one of the most pleasant evenings in quite a spell and the camaraderie was wondrous!!!!

Kudos to Golden Corral on Glenstone Ave. in Springfield, Missouri.

From the manager down the obvious efforts of all made the event a wonderful affair and MUCH enjoyed by all present!!!!

Debbie Buffet Hunter said...

I have a problem with Rule 20. People who smile all the time look like cultists. Please consider amending this rule to "Smile occasionally, or as warranted by normal conversation." I really don't expect people who work for $crap.50 an hour to be delirious with joy about it.