Texans love to eat. Texans love to eat a lot. Texans love a great buffet. That's why you can find them in big cities like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio and in smaller communities such as Orange, Beaumont, Huntsville, and Borger too.

I am sure there is a buffet restaurant that you love where the fare on offer is worthy of "slappin' ya mamma" or at least contemplating a doggie bag. And while we all know physical contact with mom is not good, what about doggie bags at the buffet line?

Hungry Marie via YouTube
Hungry Marie via YouTube
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We've all acted like pigs at a trough at a buffet. I know I have and while I am not proud of the fact that I gorged myself with so much good food I could barely walk, it never dawned on me that perhaps I could take a "doggie bag" home. After all, the words "All You Can Eat" should mean, all you can eat, right?

Can You Be Arrested For Taking Food Home From an All You Can Eat Buffet?

The short answer to that query is "maybe", but probably not on the spot. It's kind of like bad gravy, it's a gray issue. While you could face charges, there are other scenarios that are more likely to happen first.

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First things first, the term "All You Can Eat" has a time limit. Some buffets around the country actually post the time limit of how long you can sit and stay. Sit and stay are key components in the conundrum that we are attempting to solve. The spirit of the phrase "all you can eat" implies all you can put in your belly while you (a guest) are physically at the restaurant.

So in the spirit of the "implied law" you shouldn't take food home from a buffet but this is America and sometimes the spirit of the law gets lost in the spirit of entitlement that our country has seemed to embrace. So, here is the most likely scenario you'll face if you're found with a purse full of pizza and pasta.

Henley Design Studio via Unsplash.com
Henley Design Studio via Unsplash.com
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You Can Be Banned From a Buffet

This is the most likely scenario you'll face. Buffet restaurants like any service establishment have the right to refuse service to anyone. A customer that they feel is a "risk to their business" can be banned. So, if you never want to see the Picadilly again, go ahead and pocket that pork chop.

The banning of an individual from a buffet is usually where this query stops, but you wanted to know if you could be arrested for taking food home from a buffet in Texas. As we told you earlier, the answer is "maybe". Perhaps "arrested" is the wrong vernacular. "Face Charges" is a better way to explain how bad buffet behavior boomerangs or bounces back. Y'all like the alliteration?

Paul Kieu/paulkieu.com
Paul Kieu/paulkieu.com
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A restaurant could file civil charges if they believe the "theft" which is what taking food home from a buffet could be considered. Since most restaurants don't want any legal hassle, they usually just ban you and don't bother with the charges.

What About Sneaking Food For a Friend?

If they didn't pay for the buffet, they're not entitled to eat from the buffet. This scenario is more likely to get law enforcement involved. Because it literally is stealing. At least in the case of taking food home you already paid for the buffet. In this case where you're feeding a friend you (or they) didn't pay and that's stealing.

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There is Another Reason Why Buffet Doggie Bags are Banned

It has to do with food safety. Should you slide some salad into a Ziploc to enjoy later and then become ill because you ate a salad that was in your car's console the restaurant could be held accountable or at least their reputation could be put in peril. So, there's another reason why you should just gorge like a butcher's dog while you're there and then waddle out with only your receipt.

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[Editors Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, we scoured the legal code concerning restaurants and buffets and could not find a statute that explicitly addressed this scenario. The answers we've provided are "the best available" that our team could find. If you have specific details or inside knowledge on the subject with a definitive answer, please share so we can incorporate those findings]

10 Times Serving Size Equaled Serving Lies

Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

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