A buffet restaurant follows a system of serving meals in which the food is placed in the public area where the diners serve themselves.
Buffet restaurant system is a common thing nowadays whether it is a wedding, corporate event, birthday party, or tourist hotels everyone prefers to have a buffet system.
It is generally preferred by a bigger group of people i.e a family, colleagues or friends. It helps people in a group who wants to eat different things and is also cost-effective, as it provides great variety of food options in a fixed price.
For a restaurant, these buffets can attract a huge crowd to their restaurant and expect a higher bill checkout value.
But just like everything else in life, this too has its pros and cons.
Benefits of having a Buffet Restaurant:
1. Cost effective
When you implement a buffet system in your restaurant your staff members don’t have to take the responsibility of taking the orders and serving the food to the customers. This saves a lot of cost and resources for you in hiring an efficient waiting staff.
Buffet system also works great way to utilize your inventory, you can clearly see what inventory you have the most and make sure to utilize it in your buffet items. Food wastage will also reduce your food costs significantly.
Buffet system is also cost-effective for your customers as they get a variety of options in little money which wouldn’t be possible if they would have ordered the items individually.
2. Variety of options
We established earlier that in the buffet system there is a lot of variety of options available. As a restaurant owner, you can strategize the dishes according to the inventory available.
Moreover, you can also introduce new dishes and experiment with flavors in the buffet to see the customer’s reaction.
If a lot of people opt for that dish in the buffet then it will help you to make a decision whether it can be sold individually on the menu or not.
3. Low customization
Buffet systems are much less fussy than normal dining… at least to some extent!
When it comes to the buffet system the customers already know that there will be less customization. So requests like make it spicier, make it sweeter, mayo on the side, etc will be out of the picture.
Elimination of such requests actually smoothens the flow of operation and staff can focus on providing customer satisfaction.
Your restaurant chefs will also be at ease as they won’t have any dishes returning back for alterations.
4. Inventory friendly
As the buffet system in your restaurant optimize the inventory you have you will save a lot of money by buying the raw materials in bulk and also be eligible for heavy discounts.
Your staff will also have to spend lesser time doing inventory. And you will also see a much lesser raw material food wastage in your kitchen which will eventually help you in reducing your food costs.
Now that we’ve covered the good parts about having a buffet system in your restaurant let’s see the disadvantages that you might face
Disadvantages of having a Buffet Restaurant:
1. Staff attrition
When it comes to the buffet system, yes you won’t need a lot of staff members taking orders and serving plates but your staff members will have some extremely exhausting hours of buffet services such as refilling dishes, maintaining hygiene standards, attending children who are part of a group, talking to the customers, making sure that everything runs smooth, coordinating with the chefs back in the kitchen and so much more.
The chef and their team will also be exhausted making such a huge quantity of food in an extremely short window. Some dishes can be prepared in advance but it will still require heating up and presentation while other things are being prepared from scratch.
Staff attrition can be extremely high in restaurants that follow a buffet system. Therefore, to keep the staff morale high and keep them motivated to serve each day as pleasantly as yesterday you need to implement a good incentive and reward system.
2. Food wastage
One of the biggest disadvantages of having a buffet system in place is the food wastage it brings with it!
All food items on the menu that day are prepared in huge quantities however you cannot 100% predict how much of that item will be actually consumed by the customers.
Most of the time, customers tend to overstuff the food on their plates which ends up in the trash. This is not just unethical but will also increase your food costs over time affecting your overall restaurant profits.
There are no rules or regulations on the amount of quantity that the customers can put up on their plates but you can always make your customer aware of the food wastage and the ecosystem!
3. Maintenance of quality
Running a buffet restaurant requires proper processes and management in place. The kitchen layout, floor plan, serving table, and most importantly the quality of the food needs to be top-notch!
While dealing with such a huge order and continuous demand for a variety of food, mishaps are very likely. Therefore, you need someone to quality to assure the food and services to avoid any kind of negligence.
Once your buffet restaurant earns a good reputation in the eyes of certain customers they will be returning again and again as it will become a sort of family ritual.
Hope this helps you in deciding whether a buffet restaurant is a right fit for your business model or not.
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