The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a massive blow to the food and hospitality sector as a whole. Of all the restaurants impacted, the most severely hit dining style is – the crowd favorite buffets.
The Delicious Memories of Buffet Dining
Eating at a buffet is a specialized experience. Whether you’re attending a large-scale wedding or a small corporate event or party, there is something for everyone at a buffet. For the paleo and keto dieters, you can skip the carbs and fill your plates with delicious tikkas and kebabs. For the sweet tooth lovers, you can avoid the mains and dive right into the dessert section. For the biriyani lovers, nothing is as satisfying as tucking into a plate full of yummy biryani and raita.
The best part about buffets is – that you can eat just what you want. No need to go through your less-favorite dishes before you can dive into your favorite ones. No one's judging. It's your plate, and you can fill it just the way you like it.
Furthermore, since guests self-serve their food, there is minimal food wastage in a buffet compared to plated meals. You take only what you want, and if you’re still hungry, you can go for seconds or even thirds.
Buffets are more of a communal experience. Think back to the happy times you enjoyed with friends and family, bonding over plates of food, and the umpteen trips to the buffet table to reload your plates.
Now, with the Covid-19 outbreak, buffets are facing the heat at the moment.
Are Buffets a Breeding Ground for the Covid-19 virus?
One of the biggest problems with buffets in the current scenario is that – viruses can spread quickly due to the design of the buffet tables. Buffets are high-touch areas, and it's difficult to know who has touched the serving spoon before you. Viruses can live on the surface of utensils, and when many people touch it, there is a potential for quick spread.
Can Buffets be made Safer?
Yes. Buffets, per se, are not problematic. The reason why buffets are so prevalent in large gatherings like weddings is that it's quicker, more comfortable, and cheaper to serve a large number of people from shared dishes, instead of serving individually packed meals.
Buffets can be reopened post-COVID-19, with just a few changes like:
- Keeping the entire area sanitized continuously – assign designated people to wipe down the buffet table at regular intervals and keeping dishes covered.
- Keeping people socially-distanced while standing in line – by marking designated standing spots on the ground.
- Designated serving spoons that are to be touched only with gloves – or assign more staff to monitor buffets. Instead of allowing guests to serve themselves, staff will do the serving.
- PPE – gloves, face shields, and masks for all serving staff.
- Sanitizing all plates and cutlery. Most buffets do this already.
At Captain Joe, even before the pandemic, we take several measures to ensure that the food served in our buffets is delicious and hygienic at all times. Clean cutlery, heated plates, gloves, and hairnets for serving staff are some of the ways we used to keep our buffet dining safe and of the best quality for our guests.
The Bottom Line:
Like everything else, Buffets will have to change to adapt to the "New" Normal.
Let's face it: the Coronavirus pandemic has changed our world forever. It may not be possible to go back to the previous normal. With that said, it doesn't mean you have to give up on your favorite buffets.
The luxury of filling your plate – with whatever you want, as many times as you wish – is the most significant appeal of buffets. The good news for all buffet lovers is – your favorite buffets are not dead. Instead, they will undergo a few changes to make them safer and more hygienic, without the fear of contamination.
Like almost every other dining experience, your next buffet meal will look quite different in the months to come.
Are you looking forward to a buffet meal at the next wedding you attend? Or do you prefer individually plated meals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.