How All You Can Eat Restaurants Make Money

– It’s all-you-can-eat
pancake time at IHOP. – Endless shrimp is back at Red Lobster. – all-you-can-eat of this for $6.99? – [Narrator] Unlimited food. These restaurants give you all-you-can-eat for one fixed price. Sounds like a pretty good deal, but how do these
restaurants make any money? The way buffets typically work
is each person pays the same fixed price for access to a
line of self-serve dishes. You grab a plate, fill it
with food, eat, and repeat. As many times as you want. – This started in the 70s and the 80s, and they were very popular. I think it was kind of sign-of-the-time. They were a family style restaurant, they did not serve alcohol, but it was a lot of food
for not a lot of money. – [Narrator] Popular chain
restaurants that use this model are Golden Corral, and Home Town Buffet. Other all-you-can-eat
buffets specialize in one type of cuisine, like
Chinese food, Indian food, or different types of pizza. The most obvious money saver
for a buffet restaurant is there’s less need for servers. – They don’t need full
wait staff because you’re getting your own food and
bringing it to the table. – [Narrator] But these
restaurants apply another strategy that’s hidden in plain sight. Pay attention to the
layout of a buffet line. Buffets often put cheaper,
or more filling carbs towards the beginning of the line. – They would have a lot
more menu items that had good profit margins on them. Then all of the sides and the
carbs came before the entree so that by the time you got your entree, your plate was full. – [Narrator] And to try
and stop people from taking more than they can eat, these
restaurants might provide smaller than average dinner plates. Or really big soft-drink cups,
so you can fill up on soda. But that doesn’t always stop people from piling it up vertically. Or going back for another plate – [Garfield] This will be as an appetizer. – [Narrator] So some buffets
may cut corners in other ways to make sure they aren’t
losing a bunch of money. – Because of the tight profit
margins, the food quality wasn’t as great as it
probably should have been or could have been. – [Narrator] Riggs says this
contributed to their decline. Between 1998 and 2017, the
number of all-you-can-eat buffets dropped by 26 percent. Even though the number
of restaurants overall rose by 22 percent. Part of the reason for
the decline in buffets, was the expansion of
casual dining restaurants like Applebee’s, TGI
Fridays, Olive Garden, and Outback Steakhouse. This is the type of restaurant
that typically offers all-you-can-eat specials
on particular items. – For example, you take Red Lobster, they will have their
all-you-can-eat shrimp. They’re not inexpensive
and consumers like those and they think they’re getting
a good value for the money. They’re around for about six weeks, so there’s a sense of
urgency that’s created. – [Announcer] But hurry, endless
shrimp won’t be here long. – The hope is that once consumers
get inside the restaurant, they will add more things, they’ll try, they’ll be
satisfied, and will return. Because the only way you’re
going to drive your business in the restaurant industry today is through building loyalty. – [Narrator] With just a few tricks, like using smaller plates,
putting cheap items towards the front, and using
drinks to off-set other costs, all-you-can-eat restaurants
are able to accomplish the same goal as any other restaurant. Get people in the door.

100 comments on “How All You Can Eat Restaurants Make Money”

  1. Putang Ina says:

    I eat the food and then when I'm full, I puke it all. Then I eat again.

    hahaha buffet tactics

  2. YUE3899 says:

    In all you can eat in my country they serve food at your table that you choose from the menù…you pay for the drink. So I can't really relate to this video.

  3. fake name says:

    Bonanza was the shiznit

  4. Zarin Solkar says:

    The reason I never go to “ all you can eat “ is bcoz I I have a small appetite. I don’t wanna pay more and eat less .

  5. Desmond Low says:

    Buffets always anchor on drinks. It's cheap way to get people filled

  6. Frisky Coyote says:

    chill out with the static at the start

  7. Dirty Dan says:

    The ONLY reason I never go to all you can eat buffets is because the quality of the food is DISGUSTING

  8. TheCrayZone says:

    All the comments about doing it wrong…. Stfu I do it how I like … I eat what I like … So gtfo my face

  9. The Cereal Guy says:


  10. babyMilkDud says:

    Most buffets actually charge an insane amount for drinks and don't let you bring your own

  11. David Cipriano says:

    I miss Souper Salad. I used to go there with my family after church on sundays. I was always forced to say I was 8.

  12. HyperGamer 120 says:

    I really wish there was an all you can eat themed after tex mex food.

  13. Michele Conley Eckert says:

    I dont like Community Food. Yuck!

  14. Do Trap Earn Dishonestly says:

    Never gonna go to one have you seen people who use them? They might sneeze or not wash there hands

  15. Zen De Death says:

    I always found this shit weird why do Americans do this?

  16. SandboxArrow says:

    Buffets just use a big price

  17. Jiaqi Lau says:

    If you're asian, you don't take drinks, you eat MEAT AND SEAFOOD ONLY S/O TO SAT!

  18. Flyx says:

    Ever heard of a buffet

  19. Ruby Breen says:

    Where I live the only fast food we have is Mc donalds🍔🍟, Burger king🍔🍟Subway🥪🥪 and KFC 🍗🍗🍟I've never had any others ☹

  20. A. H. says:

    I go to buffet eat only seafood and meat

  21. sunny d says:

    what they count the plates where i live

  22. edi wow says:

    I never get carbs at a buffet

  23. Spree says:

    buffet food tastes like shit

  24. EricaCantLose says:

    I hate buffet's. I may get 1.5 plates if I'm lucky. That shit ain't worth $13. LOL.

  25. - says:

    Easy, cats and dogs.

  26. Pendulum Panda says:

    I used to work at a big buffet, and my biggest pet peeve there were customers who couldn't control their boisterous children. I wanted to remind them that employees were there to prepare food and clean the rooms, and NOT to babysit, but then I ran the risk of getting fired for that. The customer isn't king. They should realize that they are on equal footing with the employees, like in many parts of Europe.

  27. Cypher791 says:

    And some people eat way more than what they pay for but probably most people eat less than what they have actually paid for

  28. barbodpoli says:

    I wont fill up my plate i will fill up my plateS

  29. The Gaming Duo says:

    yeah but you will get full and leave because they can kick you out if you eat to much

  30. fallen angel says:

    who else eats samgyupsalamat a lot? filipino here! 😆

  31. Norberto says:

    I don’t eat at buffets.

  32. ThatBaldGuy90 says:

    short answer


  33. Alpine Ghost says:

    This making me hungry 😋

  34. The FiReBlAsTeR L0L says:

    Me at the buffet grab all the take out plates I can grab and put all the food I want and taken them home

  35. LolloRosso says:

    The main issue with these places is that they are often a cross-contamination nightmare, so they aren't always a good idea for people with food intolerances or allergies.

  36. Jake Wisniewski says:

    Did you know that there are KFC Buffets? They are quite rare, as they have been disappearing since the 90's. It's essentially all of the KFC menu in a buffet. They also include some items that aren't on the regular menu. It gets mixed reviews, but is still cool to see. I saw one yesterday in the Williamsburg area and I thought it was really cool.

  37. Redastic Gaming says:

    I start from the protein instead of carbs
    BRAIN 100

  38. Gas Mask Man/Discord Dude says:

    Bruh, people waste loads of food this way…

  39. dubious Gaming says:

    I go to Chinese buffets and get plate fulls of shrimp and crawfish

  40. Jacob Tomakin says:

    How is Red Robin not a buffet

  41. yoda yoda says:

    When I watched the first 2 seconds, I thought I was getting an ad lol

  42. rose rose says:


  43. sloaches lee says:

    no how

  44. Nilesh Kumar Routray says:

    this a good way to waste food in my opinion

  45. Having Tea With the Devil says:

    Seriously why the hell am i watching this at 6am? I have work in the morning.

  46. Christye Gibbs says:

    I feel like they are germy and dirty.

  47. I am Groot says:

    I'm waiting on the "all you can drink" bars to open

  48. victoria b says:

    I get full quickly anyway

  49. Christina Kefela says:

    I really do not like these places. All the food tastes worse somehow and it seems so unsanitary

  50. Kyle Murphy says:

    My girlfriend loves buffets, I keep telling her she won’t eat the worth of the money she’s spending.

  51. Miss Thing says:

    Honestly never bring me to a buffet. I will maybe eat have a plate of food.

  52. Jonathan Interloper says:

    Key when going to “all you can eat” is to actually drink as less water/pop as possible and eat the most expensive stuff you can find there only lol

    I only go to a buffet for seafood 😆

  53. wa la says:

    chinese love this shit

  54. Mini Beetle says:

    My mum used to starve me for a day before goin , to a buffet

  55. NarendraAIM says:

    In Indonesia the closest match would be a Padang Restaurant. You go in, take the food you want, bring it to the cashier, and the cashier will inspect your food and estimate the price. You pay then enjoy your food.
    It's similar with all-you-can-eat buffets, but with honesty.

  56. Iveta Welborn says:

    I do hope they don’t get rid of buffets in Vegas, though. I love their crab legs, quail, shrimp, and other fish. (Like, I know it’s not super fresh cuz Vegas is a desert, but I still like it.)

  57. Crqcked says:

    Matt stonie can eat all the food at the buffet then eat the buffet it's self

  58. MAC MILLER says:

    How is it profitable? They usually sell you stuff overpriced any other time

  59. dope aiman says:

    Focus on protein… avoid carbs.. trust me… your money will be more worthy..

  60. sarah choi says:

    There was once this woman who fainted because she had eaten too much at a crab buffet

  61. Sigma XIII says:

    Golden Corral…? You mean Golden Wolves Den. Have you stepped foot in this place before? Man…it's insane! Great place to eat though! 😂

  62. Fishron 559 says:

    Any of yall go to Toby Carvery

  63. Fishron 559 says:

    Any of yall go to Toby Carvery

  64. Kiki DFFO says:

    Ahh pickle dillies mhm….

  65. Rodolfo Sotto says:


  66. RUVEN JULIAN says:

    Children = 8$
    Adult = 13$
    Mat stonie = 100$

  67. IRON MIKE says:

    My and my friends back in HS would smoke like 3-4 joints and hit up golden coral. Dude. Good times.

  68. Natalia Esco says:

    I miss sizzlers

  69. misterq0604 says:

    My parents and I were asked to leave the sushi buffet once. Mind you, I'm 6'1 and 137 lbs. And my parents are slim as well. How did we do it?

    We only ordered seemingly expensive, intricate and unusual items from the menu – yuzu tuna, sweet shrimps, beef, grilled mackerel, etc. Skipped the drinks, tea only. Didn't order any form of noodles or rice. No sushi. Sashimi only. And we ordered multiple dishes in large bulks. We sampled nearly all the good stuff on the menu.

    An hour later, the manager came by to tell us that there is time limit on each table. Right… The family next to us was there before we arrived, and they were still eating.

    We laughed our way out of the restaurant after paying only $80 CDN for all the foods we had (approximately $60 U.S.)

  70. Joseph Calderon says:

    So… the American economy?

  71. Valerie Irvin says:

    All u can eat isn't like it used to be😢 Back in the day the food was on point. Ryan's was the place.

  72. Adhitya Gopal says:

    I love this channel. Simple, concise, well made videos

  73. Noe Rodarte says:

    I haven't gone to a buffet in a while but when i do i fill my plate with meat and veggies. Things like rice, noodles and bread don't satisfy me and are a lot of carbs

  74. Luciano Martinez says:

    TLDR; They dont expect you to eat 10 steaks

  75. Mr Zon says:

    Homer,your the greatest hero in the American history

  76. George Chen says:

    Do Not Order SODA in Buffet, those bubbles just make your belly full.

  77. B R I C K. says:

    I like the clips of Garfield casually displaying his cosmic powers

  78. mint jelly says:

    Id rather just eat a nice meal then "get my moneys worth"

  79. alexis casanova says:

    Actually I was wondering about this.. thank you lol

  80. Sowski says:

    Thanks for the tips?

  81. Karen Smith says:

    Lol I just skip directly to the shrimp and meats.

  82. Football Madrid says:

    Matt Stonie

  83. lashe adebayo says:

    Dad: kids under 10 can eat for free right?

    Cashier: yeah sure

    Son: but I’m 16

    Dad: DID I STUTTER?!

  84. dingle berry says:

    Home Town Buffet has this sneaky trick of making the food disgusting so that you wont eat as much.

  85. Aidan Boydston says:

    Ok boomer

  86. Looksharp staysmart says:

    I just don't like the idea of all of that food having sat there for God knows how long…

  87. Michael Ortiz says:

    "So much food is going to waste" I have yet to meet anyone eat everything they buy including groceries food without letting it get expired… Hypocrites at their best.

  88. Blinbin says:

    My mom makes me say im 11 lmao

  89. Fernando Soto says:

    As a freaking competitive swimmer I love these places because I’m never full

  90. Matt Dann says:

    Some restaurants charged you if you did not finish all on the plate

  91. Matt Dann says:

    Some restaurants charged you if you did not finish all on the plate

  92. Randy J says:

    Interesting! 🤔

  93. Beautiful Villian says:

    1:36 is Thai food, but sorry those are meats and veggies. Only rice and rice noodle are carbs. It's NOT buffet, but seems like the food in the religion ceremony and it's free to everyone. Thai ppl don't serve Thai food as buffet because it's too much work and more expensive. And Thai ppl usually put many food in their plate! And buffet in Thailand, ppl can use 100 plate if they want.But in this video It's NOT buffet! Poor picture research!

  94. talha shah says:

    All u can drink lmao

  95. DjDcostocc says:

    All you can eat
    Pizza restaurant

  96. TreeCookies says:

    That’s why I go straight to the main courses first, fill my plate with whatever chicken or beef and then on my way back to the table I’ll grab rice and noodles. It’s also more efficient so My food doesn’t get cold while I walk around looking at stuff

  97. Flutteran Master says:

    I make them lose money

  98. T Bow says:

    I always skip the salad bars, pass the apps, go grab my main proteins, some sides then loop back to any apps that might intrigue me. Same with Brazilian steakhouses, I turn that card green before they can even come take my drink order.

  99. One_Toxicy_Boi says:

    uhhhhhhhhh the bigger plate is like an xl for me and the smaller one is a plate size i always use…… is it just me ? im europian, lithuanian

  100. First and Last says:

    This wasn't helpful. I wanna Kno additives

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