Why is there article "the" in front of "table" even though "table" is not appeared in the previous sentence? Does the meaning change if I say "to a table" instead?
Actually, "bring [x] to the table" is a general expression that is commonly used. It means to bring food or drinks to the table for consumption. In this case, the speaker has used this expression to state that all you can eat restaurants have their customers serve themselves, hence bringing their own food "to the table." "The" cannot be omitted here. Ex: Can you bring the plates to the dinner table? This expression can also be used to mean that one has something worth offering to one another. Ex: He is a great candidate for this job. He can bring a lot to the table. (He has a lot to offer.)
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