What awaits at buffets: Unlimited food, safety procedures


All-you-can-eat has long been part of Filipinos’ dining out culture, so much so that important occasions and milestones are often celebrated at buffet restaurants. 

After their brief hiatus due to the pandemic, buffet restaurants have reopened and begun welcoming diners into their premises—offering the same experience of enjoying unlimited servings of food but with a few changes on how they’re served. 

Buffet restaurants allowed to reopen require diners to wear face masks (and face shields in some establishments) while getting their food from designated servers/assistants manning the stations. 

When the Department of Trade and Industry allowed the reopening of buffet restaurants, new policies were put in place. Only food servers are allowed to access the food and all food trays are covered to prevent contamination.

Temperatures are checked at the entrance, diners must wear face masks and face shield upon entry, and social distancing is implemented.

Quezon City-based SM North Edsa, home to many buffet restaurant brands, highlights the safety procedures implemented in its all-you-can-eat establishments. 

“As it ensures quality time, good talk, and safety of food, each restaurant implements safety protocols such as checking of temperature, alcohol or sanitizer upon entry, and no face mask/no face shield no entry. And of course, social distancing,” it said in a statement. 

Buffet restaurants open at the mall include Vikings Luxury Buffet, Cabalen, Prime Steak House, Tong Yang Plus, and Yakimix. 

Diners can still choose from a wide array of dishes presented at buffet stations, but only designated servers are allowed to get them. Food trays are covered, while in some outlets, a transparent acrylic cover separates the diners from the food and food servers. Face mask must be worn when not at the dining table. 

From left (top): Grill-all-you-want at Yakimix; Prime Steakhouse’s T-bone comes with unlimited servings of side dishes; (bottom) Vikings’ grazing platter includes deli meats, cheeses, and crackers; Tong Yang Plus’ appetizers and desserts. 

Vikings Luxury Buffet serves hundreds of delicacies spread through various stations, with food assistants manning each station. 

Cabalen serves Filipino and Asian (in Cabalen Plus) cuisines, as well as exotic food, appetizers, and desserts. To ensure everyone’s safety, the restaurant requires customers to wear their face masks and face shield while getting their food. Food servers are also present to assist customers. 

Prime Steak House offers steak-all-you-can and quality T-bone, NY Strip, Flat Iron, Salisbury Steak, and Beef Salpicao with Hickory Pork Ribs, all served with unlimited servings of fries, mashed potato, buttered corn, and rice.

Tong Yang Plus serves a variety of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese and Korean specialties, while Yakimix offers Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino food on smokeless grill and in hot pot. Both restaurants also serve unlimited cooked meals, desserts, drinks, and more. 

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