This is How All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Really Make Their Money

This is How All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Really Make Their Money


If you’ve ever gorged yourself at an all you
can eat buffet, you’ve probably wondered how they manage to make any money. Letting people just eat anything they want
all willy-nilly couldn’t possibly be profitable, right? Well, grab a plate, because we’re about to
reveal how all-you-can-eat buffets really make their money. Cutting back on overhead One of the things buffets have going for them
is an overhead different than traditional restaurants. That’s because you’re doing most of the work
for them – and paying for the privilege. You serve yourself, and in some places, you
might even get your own drinks. This means there’s next to no need for wait
staff. And since the menu relies heavily on a series
of regular dishes which are prepared in advance, they can hire fewer – and cheaper – chefs. Heck, at some buffets — like Korean BBQ
places — the customers are even doing the cooking as well as the serving! Minimizing waste Ovation Brands, which runs the Country Buffet
chain, owns and manages more than one hundred buffets across America, and they have a ton
of data on every aspect of their business. They monitor everything, including weekly
waste amounts, and plug it into a massive computer model. That allows them to track exactly how much
customers are eating and how much is getting thrown away, and allows them to adjust menus
based on what’s popular, allowing them to plan ahead and put out what people are going
to want, and in the right quantities. And when they do put it out, they use small
pans to minimize how much goes to waste. “That is beautiful!” “I told you, the buffet, man!” “Boy, did we do the wrong thing!” Cheap ingredients Psychology Today took a look at what’s going
in the buffet line, and they call it the “fill the customer’s belly cheaply” metric. For a lot of buffets, things like vegetables,
potatoes, and rice are staple dishes. That’s because they are both super cheap and
extremely filling. The more rice and veggies you eat, the more
money the restaurant makes. “What did I teach you about buffet strategy.” “Always start with your high end meats, skip
veggies, they’ll only fill you up with nonsense.” Seasonal and regional specialties Psychology Today also reported that there
are two good reasons you’re likely to find a lot of seasonal and regional foods in the
buffet line. First, if something’s in season or grown,
the restaurant is going to be able to buy it cheaply in bulk, as it’s readily available. And secondly, it makes the buffet look good. When they can offer menus advertised with
words like “locally-sourced” and “seasonal,” it makes customers feel like they’re getting
something special — and it’ll keep them coming back. Drink up! Drinks usually aren’t included in the price
of the buffet, and there’s a good reason for that. While the food being served often has a relatively
modest 30 percent markup over cost, restaurants can jack up the price of drinks by as much
as 90 percent – and the more you eat, the thirstier you’re going to get. As a result, they make a lot of bank off of
your beverage. “Drinks. Cold. Are you ready? Here we go!” Giving you smaller tools One of the biggest factors impacting your
eating habits at a buffet are the tools you’re given. You’ll almost never see full-sized dinner
plates or actual soup bowls and instead, you’ll be given small plates and even tiny dessert
bowls instead in order to limit the amount of food you take. Restaurant suppliers know this, and buffets
can even purchase miniature tableware especially designed for buffets. That even includes silverware, which tends
to be smaller — but not small enough you’d really notice unless you already know their
sneaky tricks. You’re welcome. A strategic layout Buffets spend a lot of time figuring out the
right layout for the food. Those cheap, filling foods like salads, veggies,
rice, and noodles are likely to come right at the start, so you can load up before you
get to the expensive stuff like meat and fish. Check out the way things are served, too. You can grab a massive ladle-full of rice
and veggies, but it’s tongs when it comes to those inevitably small portions of meat. They’ll take longer to get on your plate,
and most people don’t like the pressure of holding up a line, so they tend to move quickly
through. Also, pans with more expensive foods are generally
less full — a subtle encouragement to take less — while cheap ingredients will be served
in giant, overflowing pans. There’s plenty for all, and people like that. Cheaper isn’t always better The Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University
conducted an experiment to see how the price of a buffet influenced customers. They offered two groups of customers the same
pizza buffet, and charged one group $4, while the other group was charged $8. The group who paid more was overwhelmingly
more satisfied with the entire experience. That kind of psychology has filtered down
even to Las Vegas. Just a few years ago, $1.99 all you can eat
buffets were everywhere, as a lure to bring hungry patrons into casinos. By 2013, though, they had suddenly vanished,
with the average buffet price hovering between $20 and $25. Why? Because people now will pass on the cheaper
buffets because they feel like they get better food and a better experience if they are paying
more. You know what they say: one way or the other,
the house always wins. People absolutely get banned Finally, you may not want to take the “all
you can eat” part quite so literally. People can and have been banned from buffets
for eating too much food. For instance, a Wisconsin man named Bill Wisth
was not only banned, but had the cops called on him for abusing his local buffet. “But the sign said ‘All-You-Can-Eat’!” So before you go back for that fourth plate
of rice and veggies, ask yourself how much you might like the taste of jail food. Because the buffets there aren’t nearly as
good. Thanks for watching! Click the Mashed icon to subscribe to our
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  1. I went to a Chinese restaurant with the school and this girl was eating chips and chicken nuggets … while there were so many delicious meats and more

  2. My hubby and I are buffet eaters, we notice the foods in all the buffet most are made from cheap foods…

  3. I used to go back for several plates when I was a kid. More so depended on the place really, some had pretty large serving plates so I could fit a lot on there in the first place. Can assure you they did not care at all about how much I ate. At the same time I didn't go for the most expensive things there, was usually just the common stuff

  4. I've got a couple places around me that offer buffets..the Chinese one is the best but it is also the cheapest..bet if the study we redone in smaller towns and cities you would find that the lower price gets the better business for the most part..well,to penny Pinchers like myself anyway lol 😆

  5. I've been to one cheap buffet and the quality of the food is meh. I know what to expect when going to a buffet that is priced decently. The buffets I go to range from okay to good and really good when it comes to the quality of the food.

  6. I don’t go to buffets because I’m full after my first plate of food. I go to a place and get what I order in one sitting.

  7. Restaurant's have a thin profit margin. Where they fail the most is hiring racist hispanic cooks that poison white people regardless of their political affiliation.

  8. I heard from a guy that worked at a buffett that they put starch in mashed potatoes and push soda on people so that you fill up faster and don’t eat as much.

  9. When i used to go to my fav chinese buffet spot i usuallu got my eggs rolls orange chicken genersl tso and sesame. Then i go all out on the crab rangoon and frog less. Usually 3 plates filled me up and damn sure well worth it.

  10. I always get a large salad to start.
    But have learned to also get my meat and protien at the same time.

  11. I don't like using the big spoons that every one uses , I just don't feel adults or children wash there hands enough , I'd rather order or eat at home .

  12. I've watched some pigs waste plate fulls of food..sit in there for two hours and leave no top for the girls working there

  13. Blessings everyone. This is a friendly reminder that Christ's Second Coming is near. It's time to repent, it's time to turn to Jesus Christ.

  14. I haven't gone to a buffet in years. People used to take care around the food, using the tongs, spoons, ladles, etc to get food. Now people just reach in a grab things, they don't wash their hands before using utensils, they breathe on the food (put their faces below the sneeze-guards). Frankly, many people are just gross now and there's no way I'd chance my health at a buffet.

  15. Me and my brothers are 6"3 300-350 pound somoans golden Carrol staff members act like they don't want us there .We would stay for like 3 hours eating pretty much all meet we leave happy with a vanilla ice cream cone

  16. I feel cheated when I'm charged more to eat at a buffet though, not more satisfied with my experience… in fact, people often feel they need to eat more at buffets in order to justify higher prices, which is kind of counter productive for the restaurant. I also won't go back near as often when prices continue to rise either. If places keep their prices at a bargain or a reasonable rate however, then I will dine at them more often. If they offer coupons or discounts regularly, the same applies. People want & seek out bargains nowadays in an increasingly inflated world.

  17. How are people more satisfied paying more?? That doesn’t make sense, a 4 dollar buffet would make me a lot happier than an 8 dollar

  18. One of the biggest turn-offs about buffets, as far as I am concerned, is the nasty people and the germy, unruly children running all over the place, usually unsupervised. I've observed people sneezing and coughing (some of these Neanderthals don't even bother to cover their mouths) near or over the serving areas, allowing their small children to get their own food, even though there are signs posted saying that children under a certain age must be accompanied by an adult). I've observed people acting like animals, fighting over food in the jungle, as if they won't get what they want. Forget the food selection, profitability and all the other stuff that they talked about. Some of the people who dine at buffets should more likely be in a barn, feeding at a trough.

  19. I am still in prison for over eating at a buffet 10 years ago. Got in a fight with the bus boy and shanked him with the pork skewer in the eye! All you can eat my ass

  20. Remember get all your plates first and eat sort of fast while enjoying because if you get a plate then go for more you waste time and your hunger passes

  21. Ok so there is a place in Germany called Asia Palast. It's a Mongolian/Asian/Japanese mix. You can get precooked stuff (variations of meat, vegetables or even a whole dish with everything in it) then you have sushi, cakes, ice cream, fruits. And then you have a all raw table with all kind of meat, fish, vegetables, some special meat/fish and some sauces. You give it to the cook and he makes it ready, so you have enough time to enjoy the precooked stuff. Then you get the fresh cooked food served to your table. And everything for 15€ but you pay extra for drinks. I still don't get it how they make money because all of the food they have is like good quality.

  22. I've often wondered how casinos offered lobster & steak at a low price There is no such thing as a free lunch thankyou.

  23. some guys were arguing playing pool about whose dick was bigger so at the end they decided to measure them and started putting them on the pool table when two fags came in one of them said look we're having the buffet

  24. I havent gone to a buffet in years but I remember fasting for 18 hrs in advance. Then eat 10 or 11 plates, then go another 18 hours without eating. Its how wolves do it, sort of.

  25. I go 2 buffets 1nce evry few mnths,I go in the late morning/afternoon,usually after heavy leg and back days,I get more out of it,and It holds Me over well into the next day

  26. One thing to keep in mind ovation brands filed bankruptcy 3 times. So i dont know why you reported about a company that treated thier shut downs completely illegal

  27. In my country we have Buffets were you can order whatever you want from there and go back to your table and servers will come and serve you the food.

  28. I would sue the shit out of them if they tried to get me arrested for over eating at a Buffet

  29. Yeah before I watched this, I've worked in one before and I realized it the first day. In simple terms, pay per head costs 10-12x of 1 plate in other resto, and an average customer gets full after the 5th plate so the rest is the profit.

  30. I don't always see a buffet's " all you can eat" as a suggestion, I see it as a ( fun ) challenge ( That I like).

  31. If an all you can eat buffet kicked me out because i ate too much i would sue the fuck out of the employee and the manager but also the whole establishment

  32. Once went to a all you can eat.. And to save on cost, they had their chocolate chessecake dessert decorated with tiny red baby tomatoes instead of fresh red strawberry.. Hahaha it was hysterical.
    I love all you can eat buffet if good quality, Asian ones are a little dodgy, an no I'm. Not being racist.
    I find it amusing how people will go and fill up plate with garden salad first…?? Wtf..
    Go for the good shit people, like the chicken wings or carvery meat.. Mmmmmm

  33. Buffets nightmare is when someone says I'll have a tap water. Because Tap water is always free. That's me I'll always get tap water at my local Chinese buffet.

  34. Bad business practice to ban, or even gripe at people, for indulging at a buffet. The most I would ever do is enforce a 3 hour limit. No one wants to be disciplined at a buffet. If you open one, quit worrying about a huge fat dude eating a lot. Every human stomach has limits. And think of all your customers who get one plate! Finally, by banning or bitching, you cause that person to tell his 15 cousins, 30 friends, 60 coworkers, etc. to not eat at your place!

  35. Business model is the same. On a smaller scale. The same way the huge trends of buffets went out of style…. People over eating, taking food home in their purses, coming in sick and coughing on food ( reason the glass over buffet got bigger) and getting everybody sick, ETC is the majority reason our country and it's economy is suffering today.

  36. I don’t go to buffets but I’d sue if I got kicked out for eating too much, it’s an all you can eat restaurant. False advertising should be punishable by death of the company.

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