I'm from a small town, and we have very few restaurants. I'm thinking four )-:
The one with the best food usually is a small Chinese place with a buffet. It's small batch with seating for maybe 30 and the bulk take out from the buffet what I've seen. All workers appear to be family and with long and hard hours. One of the girls is pregnant and not working at the moment from what I can tell. That may not seem like a big deal, but I think they only have 5 people total.
The time before last that I ate there, it was right at 5 pm. Food bins were close to empty. But, they cooked more food and poured it on top, put in new trays and put the old food in and stirred some and not others. So, I ended up with some food I'm sure was from lunch and spoiled. I had some stomach issues for two days. I can't prove that was it, but I'm sure it was.
My family went again this Sunday, and I watched close. The time gap could not have been as large, but I saw them put in new trays of food and dump the old on top. I avoided the mixed batch trays.
Perhaps this is common in the food industry. I really don't know. That's why I'm posting. I'd never mix batches, but I'm not sure if that is OK or not in restaurant buffets.
I've thought about mentioning this to someone who works there, but they do not all speak really good English. I've also thought about seeing if the Health Dept would go over the basics on food safety (though I still do not know if the mixing is outside standards).
Any suggestions or information would be appreciated. This is a nice family working hard, and the food is really good when fresh. Mixing in the food that has been sitting there for who knows how long does not seem like it could be acceptable (but maybe I do not know food rules for restaurants). I don't want to give a small place a hard time, but I don't want food from lunch poured in right at dinner and off on the taste and my stomach churning for two days either.