GATINEAU — Buffets have reopened in Quebec and in Gatineau; one restaurant has made some significant changes to the dining experience in order to provide safe meals indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Take what you want it is all you can eat. The variety is nearly endless at Saveurs Des Continents, there are over 150 dishes available. 

There are hot and cold dishes from sushi to roast beef. The popular Gatineau eatery, formally known as Buffet Des Continents, has rebranded for their return to indoor dining, signalling the end of the serve-yourself style that once was. 

“With the changes that we’ve done the clients are very happy about it,” says senior manager Peter Andreopoulos. “We have the pleasure of serving the client the key difference is that the clients no longer touch the utensils at the buffet tables.”

Extra shields have been added around the food and floor markers remind you to keep a six-foot distance. The restaurant, which reopened in mid-July, wants to ensure that both staff and customers are well protected.

Those changes start at the front door. Hand washing is required as well as pre-payment. Prices haven’t changed but a 12 per cent gratuity is added to the bill upfront. Up to 10 can dine together and masks must be worn when you are not seated and condiments have been removed from the table.

Claude Levesque is dining with his family; none are bothered by the safety protocols in place. They enjoy dinning at the reopened establishment, tasting flavours from around the world.

“I like this way in the restaurant better than before,” says Levesque. “It’s more quiet and we have good service.”

Unlike Quebec, buffets cannot reopen in Ontario and restaurants only allow a maximum of 50 people. At Saveurs Des Continents, the seating capacity is currently around 200. Prior to COVID-19, this restaurant could hold nearly 700. 

Andreopoulos says Quebec does not have any specific regulations when it comes to seating as long as tables are properly distanced two metres apart. He notes that the restaurant has a vast space and as more customers return, they still have room to expand.

All staff are required to undergo daily health checks, including temperatures taken before the start of the shift. Andreopoulos is hopeful that word will get around and says people are feeling comfortable in the environment, the way its set up, and the new-style buffet is looking very optimistic for the future.