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5) Handle With Care

While we are on the topic of food-borne illnesses–did you know that improperly rotated food at buffet restaurants could also make you sick as a dog? That pasta salad (presented in an ornate crock) sure looks attractive, but it can be problematic if it hasn’t been properly rotated, meaning new salad put on top of the old stuff. Bowls and crocks should be completely emptied and restocked at the end of each day. This is an effective safeguard for keeping the food as fresh as possible, and it prevents diners from becoming double-dog sick.

6) Sticky-Icky Salad Tongs

It’s best not to think about the cleanliness of the serving utensils that get used at buffet restaurants, considering hundreds of diners touch the spoons and tongs during an average service period–giving it too much thought could definitely make you sick, especially if you have obsessive cleanliness issues. The very thought of Mr. swine-flu-fingers leaving behind his biohazard on the salad tongs is scary. But giving the utensils a good wipe-down with Purell will make you look like an obsessive germaphobe.

7) That’s Some Nasty Chicken, Man

It’s no secret that corporate buffet places are bottom line oriented. With that said, don’t expect high-quality food products to be served. Some of the nastiest, low-grade chicken to be found (even worse than the crap served at KFC) gets dished up at buffet restaurants. Meatless, bony, and greasy chicken is the norm–yum, a deep-fried chicken back. And that roast beef that gets sliced by some pimply teenager (at the serving station) is far from prime-grade–it’s probably an institutional quality that’s only slightly better than the stuff served in prison, and you are paying for it!

8) Beware The Parking Lot

The scariest thing about buffet restaurants is probably the parking lot. Fat people darting around in dented minivans looking for a place to park–like starved mice in a labyrinth–can definitely be more dangerous than the food served in the restaurant. Most buffet restaurants have extremely busy parking lots. So, be careful out there. Let the sodium and fat kill you, not some ravenous diner with bulging eyes, in a primer-blotched Aerostar.

Image courtesy of talekinker’s photostream (flickr)

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