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Sunday, October 25, 2009

All You Can Eat Buffets

We have all tried an all you can eat buffet. Whether you are in Las Vegas, a local hotel for Sunday Brunch, a Chinese restaurant or a buffet specialist, the format is the same. You are seated and asked for your drink order. Once the order is taken, you are invited to go ahead to the buffet.

Most buffets are setup in stations. Typically, there is one or more ethnic food stations (Italian, Mexican and Chinese are common), a roast meat station, seafood station, BBQ station, a large salad bar and a dessert station. Breakfast and brunch buffets will include an omelet station (with lots of toppings), breakfast meats, pancakes, waffles, bagels, toast, muffins, fresh fruit, smoked salmon, and cereals.

Operators who pay attention to baked goods have an edge since these items have a relatively low food cost. It is advisable to have a server help guests with the roast meats. Most buffet houses continually pick up plates when the guests leave the table for seconds.

Buffet operations require high fixed costs. Much of the food and production staffing is decided before the meal period. Operators need accurate forecasts to prevent costly over production.

There are two schools on how to close down a buffet. Some professionals believe the buffet should look fully stocked right up until the final guest is served. Other operators prefer to offer fewer pans as the clock nears closing time. You need to have a strategy for either philosophy. The worst buffet presentations are those where you see many pans with very little food and drying sauces and gravies.

At the very least, these pans should be removed or replenished (depending on the policy). I have requested a tour of the buffet before deciding to dine on occasion. About 1/3 of the time, I decide to leave due to the appearance of the food.

1 comment:

CHEF P SEKAR said...

The concept of Buffet is to maximise the profit with large footfall.
The point that I observed is that, The buffet during the closing time the guest are few.
Don't you think it would be sensible to reduce the Buffet time hence the food drying on the Buffet for a extended period.. with due consideration to the HACCP norms, can be avoided
Ironically as you mentioned about the policy.. this is let to be subjective.

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