When all-you-can-eat isn't all-you-can-eat
by Simon Ward | 03 October 2012 | 4 commentsTweet
Two men have been barred from a Brighton restaurant for apparently eating too much of its all-you-can-eat buffet. But what did they really do wrong?
George Dalmon and Andy Miles were barred from Mongolian restaurant Gobi for being “greedy” in helping themselves to five servings apiece from the buffet station.
The manager also accused them of eating “everything out of the bowls before people can get there”.
However, the restaurant explicitly states that you can “eat all you like” for £12, so who is really in the wrong here?
Different all-you-can-eat restaurants have different policies. I used to eat in a Chinese restaurant that would bring as many dishes to your table as you wanted, but if you left anything at the end of the meal you’d pay a surcharge. A good move, I felt, as it discouraged gorging and potentially prevented food waste.
Similarly, colleagues tell tales of restaurants weighing leftover food and imposing a penalty based on that.
But most restaurants don’t have a “fair usage” policy unlike, for example, ‘unlimited’ broadband contracts, which always come with caveats. And how would that work anyway with so many different appetites to sate?
We don’t know what really went on that night in Gobi and whether the manager’s claim that they "destroyed" the buffet station has any foundation whatsoever. But it's clear he wasn't prepared to tolerate people taking his menu to extremes.
However, if you are a restaurant proprietor of a sensitive disposition (emotionally and/or financially), you either need to introduce some house rules or go back to a la carte.
Who do you think is in the right here? Should all-you-can-eat menus have restrictions? Let us know in the Comments section below.