All-you-can-eat buffet horror stories from employees and customers
I have a love/hate relationship with buffets. On the one hand, there was a Chinese buffet in my hometown that I constantly went to with my friends.
On the other, during my stint as a busser at a country club, I had to help work around buffets at events and I quickly realized why service industry folks hate them so much. Here’s a collection of buffer horror stories, from employees and customers alike, to prove that point.
My first job was as a dishwasher in an all you can eat fried catfish buffet.
People are animals. Especially the ones that get far more food off the buffet than they can eat. Then they take the left overs and pile them on a plate or tray, cover in ketchup and tartar sauce, then pour their iced tea over the top of all that.
A lot of people did that got at least two plates like that a night.
A woman came in with two of her kids, and had a pretty regular meal. You pay when you leave at our place, and she decided to sneak out with her younger daughter before paying, leaving her underage son alone at the table.
We caught on pretty quick and sent someone after her, who found her in her car in the parking garage, waiting for her son to come as well. She refused to come back in and pay, so we had to keep her son ‘hostage’ until the police came to handle the situation. What some people will do to their kids, i swear.
…forgot to mention we also found out from her son that she stole one of the managers’ keycards and they would regularly come into the hotel and use the card to go swimming in the top floor pool. Smart, i’ll give her that, but still.
Went as a customer to a golden corral. Im walking to the chocolate fountain and 3 little girls step in front of me, and all 3 of them just go hands deep in the fountain. The family was the first table by the fountain and all they did was laugh about how cute it was.. Employees turned it off immediately.
Buffet where I live got shut down for serving coyote meat and labeling it as other meats
Not a worker – but I went to HomeTown Buffet and the kid in front of me was slightly shorter than the buffet bar but had his hands in the yellow jello – just massaging it. Then his mom came by and snatched him away but didn’t say anything while a guy came and made himself a bowl of jello. 10 yr-old me was too appalled to say anything. I haven’t eaten jello since then….
Picked up some fish and chips recently. Saw they had “all you can eat” on Wednesdays.
So I asked “What is the most that someone….”
“18 pieces of fish and 3 plates (she held up this huge platter) of fries……every….single…..Wednesday.”
“So he eats that exact order every week?”
“Yes, and he goes to a different ‘all you can eat’ every day of the week. He got banned from the Chinese place down the road.”
I had a co-worker that briefly managed a Ryan’s buffet. He said that it was fairly common for people to gorge themselves, then purge in the restroom and start eating again so that they could “get their money’s worth”.
College friend worked at a chinese buffet. He said they caught a regular dipping his pizza in the wonton soup bowl (like, in the queue and not at his table) and eating it. Bite, dip, bite, dip, bite, dip.
After the fourth time in a month he did it management finally kicked him out.
There was a fairly expensive restaurant in Dallas in the 80s called Southern Kitchen. About $25 per person back then with food served to the table. Really good stuff.
They were famous for cinnamon rolls. The owner said he’d seen many, many women ruin expensive purses hiding those rolls.
Man I miss that place.
Obligatory “not a buffet worker”, just a witness. We were waiting in line for the soft serve machine at Golden Corral. The woman in front of us gets up to the machine and awkwardly jerks the handle around in an attempt to get at the sweet, sweet ice cream within. She’s pushing, pulling, twisting, doing literally everything but turning it to the right (which would have dispensed the ice cream).
She’s really perplexed by this. So she takes the next logical step, of course, which is to wrap her lips around the spout, form a seal on it with her mouth and start trying to suck it right out of the tap. One of the workers sees this and looks on in disgust before he unplugs the machine. On the way out, we see that he put an out of order sign on it, so thankfully they didn’t keep serving it after that whole incident.
Years ago, I worked at an all-you-can-eat country buffet in South Carolina. I was a busboy.
One day, I went to a table. It was a mess, as per usual. It looked to be a large family/group of families of around 12 people or so.
The thing that stuck it in my memory is that whenever they had finished with what they were going to eat, they would scrape their plate and use it again.
Scrape their plates… onto the floor next to their chairs.
So next to each chair, there was a 6inch to 18 inch pile of chicken bones, crab legs, mashed potatoes, remnants of backed potatoes, etc.
I didn’t work at an All You can eat, but my sister did.
The buffet itself was on the first floor, so you had to take either the stairs or the elevator to your seat.
Once there was a lady who was carrying a tray with a whole lot of stuff on it down. Glasses, plates and a whole lot more of junk. My sister asked the lady if she needed any assistance, to which the lady replied ‘You assume because I’m fat, I need help?’ My sister didn’t react. A few seconds later the lady fell down the stairs. There was blood and food everywhere
Not an employee or a customer, but we had a Chinese buffet shut down for a health code violation, which was employee was cutting veggies while taking a shit. To this day I still wonder if that means dude brought a bucket into the kitchen or veggies into the shitter and I honestly don’t know which is worse.
Not an employee, but I witnessed a marvelous thing.
Sitting in a small town Chinese buffet. Three big dudes, not obese but farm built big, come in. These guys proceed to just.. clean house. Plate after plate after plate. They weren’t wasteful; they ate everything they took. They were very polite to the staff and other customers.
But I bet each man ate a dozen plates, each stacked high. The cooks were working to keep up.
My family and I found ourselves watching this marvelous feat of eating unfold in awe.
When they approached the counter to pay, all this eating unfolding in only 45 minutes or so, the manager greeted them at the counter. In his broken English he simply said “You men. You no pay.. but you no come back.”
The guys gave each other and the manager a “yeah fair enough” look and left.
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