People Share Their Horrific Buffet Stories
Food is ultimate pleasure of life. Not only that, it is the first love of many and for some, their last love. Food makes you happy, food makes you beautiful, food makes you, you. Being a foodie is not just a choice, but a privilege. As only a true food lover knows that food is selfless. It is never going to leave you, ditch you or make you upset… maybe a little plump, but never sad. Our relationship with food goes long, long back. Ever since a child, all we want to do in life is eat. Eat good food, great food, delicious food, and basically, all kinds of food.
If food is love, then buffet for sure is paradise. Imagine unlimited food on a single platter. Insane, right? If you ask a foodie, they will tell you that buffet is one of the most amazing things in the world. But little do they know, buffet can be horrific too. We know it is hard to digest, but it is true!
Do not believe us? Read below 30 interesting stories of our Redditors, who have shared their most horrific buffet experience –
That's Next Level Gross
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 baked potatoes, etc.
Sneaky Lil Baskets!
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.
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.”
You Knew It Was Gonna Happen
Not a buffet, but I worked at a pizza parlor that offered a lunch buffet of endless pizza. The lunch ran from 11am – 3pm. This gentlemen comes in(I think he was homeless), he serves up a sky high plate of pizza and just goes to town. He stayed from the beginning to the very end to make sure he got his money’s worth. Well, his body didn’t appreciate being stuffed like a pinata of pizza. He got up waddled to the bathroom and next thing I know I’m being told he had liquid poop trailing behind him to the bathroom and inside the bathroom. I was informed by my boss about the incident, I told him I was just heading out for a break. I was not about to clean that up.
No Cookies For You
I work at a quick serve restaurant and we have cookies by the register, and chips and stuff. Well, some lady came in with her uncontrollable 5 year old son that was grabbing everything in his path. When they were paying I noticed the little boy grab a cookie off the counter and bite it through the saran wrap. The mother took it from him and tried to put it back on the stack. I told her, “he just had that in his mouth, you’re gonna have to pay for it” and at that exact moment, the kid grabbed the whole pile of cookies and slung them on the floor. I tried to find the cookie he bit out of a stack of 5 or so and his mom got really pissed and refused to admit that he did that saying things like “I WOULD BE ABLE TO SEE A CHILD’S TEETH MARKS, HE DIDN’T BITE ANY OF THEM!” so I ended up throwing away 5 cookies and saying “of course he didn’t bite any of them, I’m an idiot!” And she angrily paid and left.
I worked at a Ruby Tuesday in center city Philly (first floor of the Liberty Place building). I had a couple that would come in about twice a week that requested me. They would gorge themselves at the salad bar for about an hour, ask for large glasses of water with no ice, then both would take the water into the bathroom. They would come out a few minutes later with empty glasses, ask for the check and leave. I finally put it together that they were bulimic after I walked in the women’s bathroom and it smelled like vomit. Very polite folks and tipped well though.
Anything For A Penny
So I work in an ‘all you can eat’ using tablets. This is (according to my boss) based on a Japanese kind of restaurant. We serve (mostly) asian food, from Chinese to Japanese and even some Korean.
The premise is that people order their food in rounds and we then bring the food to their table when it is ready. We always warn customers beforehand that, if they leave food behind, because they ordered too much, they will have to pay extra. Depending on what they left behind.
We have seen people try the weirdest stuff if it comes to not paying extra; people dumping food in their handbags, to people shoving it in their mouths then go to the toilet and flush it, to putting hair on it and blaming us for it (we see them pull this stuff), etc.
And when we actually catch them doing it, they blame us for it and refuse to pay. Some people let it come down to the police to sort it out sometimes, there have been multiple occasions on which they were involved to solve the problem for just €5,-. I guess some people’s greed has no extend.
Seconds Rule After All
Worked in a buffet restaurant for a few weeks a while back. It was fairly common to see people do disgusting things like sneeze in the food or just poke their fingers in things like sauces to taste them. Even saw one guy literally drop a slice of pizza on the floor and after awkwardly looking around, he put it right back.
Brought it up a couple of times, but the restaurant wasn’t doing well, and we were told that we couldn’t accept the losses to start throwing “good” food out.
Not a worker but..
I was at a Chinese buffet with a Hot Pot option that you had to pay extra for. There was a separate section with the stuff for that which was raw. This guy loaded up his plate with all this raw stuff and was eating it, including dangerous raw stuff like shrimp. I think he may have been slightly intellectually disabled. The Chinese staff had to come over and inform him that he was eating the wrong things and try to explain it to him. He got really embarrassed and said that he did not understand how it worked. Between the Chinese staff with their limited English and this poor guy who was not capable of really understanding what he had done wrong, it was one of those awkward moments in life that you cannot forget no matter how much you try.
Buffet of Rudeness
I managed a buffet in a casino in Reno for a few months. Had this family come in… mom, dad, two little kids. I get called over to the table because the mom had thrown up on her plate/table and wanted us to take it away and clean it up.
I asked if she was ok, and she said she always throws up when she eats cheese. She had gotten herself an enchilada (it was Mexican theme night). WTF lady, enchiladas pretty much always have cheese. I told her I would have to call janitorial because none of my staff was trained to handle biohazards. She “didn’t understand why I couldn’t just take it.” Janitorial came in and couldn’t clean up because she refused to move from the table. So janitorial left.
She calls me back over and starts yelling at me, dad starts yelling too. Apparently she wanted to keep eating after throwing up, which I thought was really gross. I had them sit at another table so that they could all keep eating. Janitorial came back and cleaned the other table.
Finally they go to leave and decide to make a huge scene in front of the whole restaurant and demand their money back. I refuse. Dad gets in my face and starts shouting that I’m just a racist white biaatch and his wife makes loads more money than I do. I call security and they storm out, pulling pictures off the wall and shattering them on the floor, and dad also picked up a vase and broke it. The two kids are running around and banging on the walls. Security finally shows up after they ran off, I have to do a report, and they were put on the 86 list. I freaking hate people
Common Sense, Very Uncommon!
I worked as a server at a Chinese buffet and 4 things came to mind instantly.
A middle aged woman puked on her table and blamed it on giving herself the wrong insulin dose. The 4 mountains of food she destroyed probably contributed too. Profusely apologized and tipped me $1.
I tried to pick up a dirty plate off a table that had a big pool of hibachi sauce/grease on it. The customer stopped me and said “that’s the best part.” Then proceeded to drink the sauce like it was the milk after a bowl of cereal.
A young mother complained to me because the crab meat and cheese that we serve on the buffet made her child sick and they threw up. Her child was an infant. Not even a year old. I’m no child care expert but baked artificial crab meat and mozzarella can’t be good for a baby.
The restaurant was raided by ICE one morning shortly before opening. The entire back of the house and one of our managers were deported. Back of the house was 1/2 Chinese and 1/2 Latin American.
Think About The World Woman!
I was just a witness but I saw how a woman came in with about 5 kids and she made them all sit at a table while she got food, even if they seemed old enough to get it themselves.
She just grabbed two trays, placed three plates on both of them and literally poured all the chicken nuggets on one plate so it was a huge mountain.
She did the same to five other dishes and left 5 pans that were full or almost full before she came empty.
Needless to say people were pissed, especially when she did it multiple times again with other dishes and would often glare at people if she saw them taking food from dishes she probably wanted.
You Make Me Do Bad Things
Family was gone and I saw their dirty plates with napkins crumpled on top so of course i clean it up and bus the plates, 15 mins later they come back and the mom starts yelling at me in spanish so I get my co worker to translate and basically her daughter’s retainers were in the napkins and I already threw them away. She kept complaining about how they were $250+ so I literally had to dig thru a huge trashcan full of a sludge of food and drinks for 15 minutes . But fortunately I found them and the daughter thanked me and she seemed embarrassed that her mom made me dig through the trash.
Don't Come Back
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.
Got What You Served
Not a worker, sorry, but the Golden corral in the city where I went to college got shut down thanks to an employee.
He found it odd that they made a busboy sign a non-disclosure form to work there, he found out it was because they were breaking just about every health and safety rules.
They were serving meat that had gone green, they would leave food out overnight, the freezer once broke down for three days and they kept serving from it despite it being in the danger zone. He wore a hidden camera and gave the news footage. It made me SO glad I never ate there
Was Bound To Happen
Not a worker but I was in China for a vacation at a new buffet. I made the mistake going week 1 but my relatives were dying to go.
There was a lobster station that served fresh steamed lobster. Any time a new tray came out people would swarm it. Before they made a rule about how many you can have, people just grabbed as many as they could. This one table had about 2 dozen lobsters on their table for about 6 people. Some guy at the table would constantly bring back more and more and eventually, people got pissed because it was just sitting there not being eaten. At least not yet. So a few people got in the group’s face and started taking their lobsters. Within 3 minutes a full-on fight breaks out people are SWINGING hard and lobsters are flying over the place.
I was a customer, not a worker.
My wife and I went to a Sweet Tomatoes for a lunch date, unlimited salad and soup was always good. One time, I saw a man over by the soups take the serving ladle for one of the weekly specials and take a big slurp from it. Then apparently he didn’t like it and spat it back out into the ladle, and put the ladle back in the soup. WTH, dude?
I got up immediately and told the nearest staff what I’d seen, and they got right on getting that nearly full pot of soup out of there. I didn’t have any more soup that visit, the what-ifs were too damn strong. Which is a shame, because I love their chunky chicken noodles.
Shut Up Already
I used to cook for a breakfast buffet back in 2012-2013 as one of my first jobs. The restaurant in question I won’t say the name of, but rhymed with Meat’n Bark.
Most of the customers that we got at the restaurant in general would be old people, however, a lot of the old people were very entitled and would come straight from church to the restaurant for their breakfast buffet. I’ll just make a list:
One old lady kept implying that I wasn’t old enough to work there. I said, many times, my real age (17 at the time) and she kept saying “I bet they’re just making you say that, you know it’s illegal that they’re making you do this!” and I’m just at a loss and don’t know what else to tell this lady who is 100% confident that I must be under-age or working for free or something. I don’t know what her goal was.
A guy taking all of the bacon and putting it on his plate, and then telling me to “look at that” (the empty spot where the bacon was before he took it) and I said “Okay… looking? What am I looking for?” and he said “Tell me what’s wrong with that!” and I say “Um, I don’t know, is it not clean or something?” and he says “THERE’s NO BACON LEFT! Aren’t you going to re-fill it!?” and I’m like “Well that’s weird it was just filled a couple minutes ago, someone must have taken it all!” (knowing it was him) and he couldn’t put 2 and 2 together, and just said “I don’t know but there’s no bacon there so what are we going to do about it?”
Some lady looking at bacon in disgust and saying “Wow.. It’s 2013, who even eats meat anymore? Really?”
Some lady shows up to the buffet 15 minutes after it closes, while we’re taking it down, and says “Woh woh what are you doing!? I haven’t even gotten my food yet!” and we tell her politely that the buffet had closed 15 minutes ago, and the servers even give a “last call” on the buffet 15 minutes before it closes. Her response “That’s okay I’ll just go complain to your manager” I just said okay sounds good. In my head I’m like, what, you’re going to tell my manager that the buffet closed 15 minutes ago? He knows. Lmao
Nothing huge but the same lady would come to the restaurant at least twice a week and complain about how crappy the service is each time and how the food is terrible. Finally one of the hostesses said “if the service is so bad and the food is so bad then why do you come here multiple times a week?” which shut her up. Lmao.
Thanks, You Ruined It!
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 puts an out of order sign on it, so thankfully they didn’t keep serving it after that whole incident.
When I was 16 I was a busboy at one. This morbidly obese family (4 people – 2 parents, 2 teenagers – all gigantic) came in after the noon-hour when it was slow and were taking FULL advantage of the all you can eat buffet. On my way to busing tables I walk by the bathrooms and see the teen-aged son walk out of the men’s room with a HUGE shiz-eating grin on his round, pre-pubescent face. I immediately thought this can’t be good and went to go check on the restroom, as one of our responsibilities was to make sure that the restrooms were generally clean.
This guy had explosive diarrhea and had not even managed to hit the toilet. There was poop allover the toilet tank, the walls and the floor. No lie – It looked like a hand-grenade of poop went off in the stall. Bar-none the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in a bathroom.
I thought about cleaning it up, but instead I went to tell my manager. He was a pretty hard-driving guy, but he took one look at it, locked the stall and told me, “Yeah, you don’t get paid enough to clean this up. We’ll get the janitor to take of this tonight.”
On The House
Not a “Horror” story, just funny.
I worked at Wendy’s when they had salad bars. You could get a single-serving bowl (They used to serve eat-in chili in Styrofoam bowls, and the Large doubled as a chili bowl), or “All you can eat” platters. (The Taco Salad bottom plate.)
On a slow afternoon, this guy came in and got a single serving bowl. After a few minutes, our manager motioned to me and the sandwich guy to discreetly take a look at the salad he was making.
The guy had filled the bowl with salad, then made a ring of overlapping cucumber slices to extend the lip of the bowl upwards. He filled that with salad, then added another ring. It took several minutes to build this thing, but by the time he’d finished, he had a tower of salad well over a foot tall, wth multiple rings of cucumber slices containing it.
That salad was an engineering marvel. He carefully carried it back to his table, sat down, then looked up guiltily as our manager walked out to him.
The manager handed him a “free item” coupon, and said, “That is the most impressive salad I have ever seen. Your next one’s on me.”
Be Subtle Woman
I used to manage a KFC with a buffet. On Tuesdays, we had senior citizen discount so we would have livers and gizzards on the buffet. Typically, they went pretty well but not insanely fast. One day, we just couldn’t keep the gizzard pan full which made no sense. There were only maybe six people in the dining room so unless they were big time gizzard eaters, one full pan should have lasted a while.
I had the buffet worker put a fresh pan out and then watched as a woman walked up and filled a plate with an overflowing pile of gizzards. No big deal if she’s actually eating that. It’s her body that will feel the pain later.
As I kept watching, though, I saw her take the plate and dump all the gizzards in her purse. I went to her table to confront her and said that the all you can eat buffet does not allow for takeout. She screamed at me and said I was accusing her of lying and stealing. I pointed out that her purse was wide open and I could see the quart-size ziplock bag filled with gizzards. I grabbed the bag and threw them out while she screamed about never coming back and calling the manager (me) and calling the BBB.
Surprisingly, I never saw her again.
God Bless Their Customers
Not me but my uncle is a chef and is right now rotating round different carvery (what us brits call buffets) trying to show them how to properly run the business and make actual edible food so people will come back and the place won’t shut down. he’s told me of a few places that even he’s not wanted to go into the cause of the state of the kitchen and he questions how they haven’t killed anyone yet. most recent one is chefs just cutting of the rotten pieces of food and then serving it. he has had to fire multiple people on the spot for stuff like that
Not a buffet worker but I was on holiday in the Caribbean and at the hotel there was an all you can eat buffet. I had finished my dinner and went up to the dessert station where it had self serve ice cream, and was in a queue behind two people.
The person at the front was by observation a mid 30’s Floridian woman. I myself was British and so was the person directly in front of me. Anyway, she gets a bowl, and takes the little ice cream scoop and freaking LICKS it. Then scrunches up her face, goes to the chocolate flavour and DOES THE SAME THING AGAIN. At this point I’m just like, nah I’ll pass. The person behind already left and the one in front of me just muttered “you freaking pig”.
She then turns to us with a confused expression, and says “What, there’s water to wash it in anyway”.
So that’s how I lost my faith in humanity, don’t worry, I’d lost my faith in Floridians long before.
Apparently There's No Limit
The Hilton in St Louis (don’t know if it’s even that anymore) used to have a breakfast buffet that served items in these giant copper kettles. A customer in line ahead of me (I was also a guest, was during a convention) filled two plates heaping with bacon. Just bacon. Bacon bacon bacon. He took all the bacon from that kettle. Ate it all. And then threw up in the lounge on top of a cream colored sofa.
There’s a limit to bacon, but I don’t know what it is.
My boyfriend’s parents owned a well known banquet restaurant for private parties, weddings, and holiday buffets. His least favorite holiday? Mothers day. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet and the big hit was the dessert table. The most popular was the build-your-own sundae. Enormous trays of frozen ice cream in little glasses were loaded on a table every 30 min or so. At some point they were scooping so much that the glasses didn’t have time to set so they were just scooping and sending out the trays. My boyfriend, 14 at the time, was hauling two ice cream trays (huge metal sheet pans with 50 little ice cream glasses) up 2 flights of stairs. Trying to move with the pace of the customers, he was rushing, and at the top of the 2nd flight he slipped on a patch of melted ice cream and fell backwards down the stairs, the two trays tumbling down on top of him as he fell. He says that sitting at the bottom of the stairs, covered in ice cream and broken glass with a bloody lip and mild concussion, was one of the worst experiences of his entire life. Knowing that he had gone through other scary life events, I asked why this one was so traumatic. He said because he didn’t even think about his own health and safety, all he kept thinking was “freak, people are going to be really pissed they don’t have their ice cream.”