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If you're at a hotel and there is a buffet meal, and you can take as much as you want, is there any problem taking a few extra rolls or any of the food back to your room for later?

I assume if I'm not hungry or able to eat now then there would be no problem taking for later as I'm taking the same amount they are offering. But if I'm eating now,
A. Do we think the hotel cares how much I take or if I take some for later?
B. Assuming the answer is no, if I ask a waiter and he says fine, is that enough? Or do I have to ask the management or somebody in a more authoritative position?

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What the expectation of the buffet owner is most likely depends on which community/city/country the hotel is located in. I know some places have guards to make sure you don't take any food or dishes away, and others have signs saying to leave extra food/plates outside your hotel door. –  avi Dec 4 '11 at 13:30
    
The rambam holds that if you take someones stuff, knowing that they will let you have it when you ask them, this is stealing. So how is owners expectations relevant? –  user1040 Jan 25 '12 at 17:10
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Not the same thing. If the owner openly expects you to take, then he has effectively given you permission already. –  LazerA Feb 1 '12 at 7:25
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2 Answers

The waiter is a representative of the hotel. If he says you are allowed to take food out of the dining room, then go ahead.

However, most buffets (both in hotels and restaurants) have strict rules against removing food from the dining room.

Remember; the hotel paid for every piece of food that is there. They make a general estimation of how much food to purchase. If everyone that came took out several meals' worth of food to save for later, the hotel would lose money.

If someone has already paid for their meal, like in the case of a shabbos / yom tov hotel package, and that person is sick and in their hotel room, the staff will most certainly arrange a very generous portioned care package for that person, and likely deliver it to the room as well.

As always, "dina d'malchusa dina". Follow the rules. Always assume that it is forbidden to take food out of a buffet dining room, without permission.

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Both this answer and the deleted answer said that a waiter is a representative of the hotel owner and empowered to grant permission. If you're checked in to the hotel, you probably received fine print, among which may well have been something like "No employee [or: No employee except the manager] is empowered to waive any of our rights" or "Our rights cannot be waived orally". (In the States, anyway.) –  msh210 Dec 18 '11 at 20:48
    
For the purposes of someone who wants to take an extra roll up to his room, the waiter suffices. If the manager would see Reb Yid with some food in hand, and he asks, "Where did you get that?" If Reb Yid says, "The waiter said I could take it", then the management won't pursue it further. If he didn't ask anyone, then he might be in trouble, and it constitutes a chillul hashem. Just like a waiter is empowered to send food back and use the restaurant's resources to prepare a substitute dish, a waiter is empowered to allow some food to leave the dining room of a buffet. –  user1095 Dec 18 '11 at 21:09
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That stands to reason. (As always, sources for answers are good.) –  msh210 Dec 18 '11 at 21:11
    
Related to the above comments: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/14586. –  msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 18:11
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I think you must ask the manager (based on what I heard from HaRav Musafi Shelita). I heard from him that you aren't even allowed to use a phone printer computer or fax machine at a work place without permission. This is a Kal WaHomer. Because here the hotel is losing money if someone takes too much- they calculate what they order.

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What did you hear from him, that this answer is based on? –  msh210 Dec 18 '11 at 21:08
    
I heard from him that you aren't even allowed to use a phone printer computer or fax machine at a work place without permission. This is a Kal WaHomer. Because here the hotel is losing money if someone takes too much- they calculate what they order. –  Hacham Gabriel Dec 18 '11 at 21:32
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@H'Gabriel, please edit all information and reasoning that's relevant to your answer into the answer itself. –  Isaac Moses Dec 19 '11 at 7:45
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