3 Obvious and 4 Not So Obvious Ways Buffets Make Money

3 – Reduced waste

Choosing the right menu items to offer and putting out just the right amounts is no easy task. We don’t have to look further than Ovation Brands, the owner of Old Country Buffet, for evidence of that. The company, then called Buffets, filed for bankruptcy protection twice between 2008 and 2012.

After emerging from Chapter 11, Ovation revamped its menu with an eye on consolidating its buffet-line offerings to reduce waste and deliver diners more of the items they want — and that the company can produce profitably.

And managers must be meticulous about their stock-keeping. If too much of an item is prepared and sits in a chafing dish all evening, it’s money down the drain.

The Not So Obvious

All that aside, there’s more going on at buffet restaurants than meets the eye. It may not be obvious to diners, but buffets are often arranged with painstaking detail to guide diners so they are more likely to fill their plates in a manner that leads to full stomachs and fatter margins.

1 – Big cost, little portion

Pricier items on the buffet line – like meat or fish – are cut into smaller pieces. Rationally, a person would just take two pieces instead of one. But in reality, a diner is more likely to follow society’s unwritten rule, taking a single smaller piece and moving on down the line.

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