How To Prevent Getting Scammed By All-You-Can-Eat Buffet’s

Anyone that knows me is well aware that I love to workout hard and then pig out until I’m so full I can’t even move. Granted, I know this isn’t healthy so I try to limit myself as to when I get to pig out. The most common form of pigging out traditionally is to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The other day something strange happened. I opted out of the all you can eat option and I just ate a regular meal at the same restaurant (yes I know it’s cheaper to make your own meals but once in while you got to spoil yourself).

You know what’s funny? I went home just as full as I would have been if I paid for the more expensive all-you-can-eat meal. I ended up paying $5.89 for my meal and the all-you-can-eat option would have cost me $10.99.

Much to the annoyance of my girlfriend I pulled out my trusty pen & paper to make some notes on the subject. I came up with a few ways to help you prevent getting scammed by the all-you-can-eat buffet option:

Think of the law of diminishing returns

Anyone that took grade 10 business class will remember the law of diminishing returns. If you don’t know what this term refers to then do not fear I hate textbook theory too so I will break down the all-you-can-eat buffet example into simple terms.

If you have one pizza slice you tremendously enjoy the slice, if you have 2 you enjoy them both, if you have 3 you really enjoy all 3 pizza slices. When you have 10 pizza slices how many of them do you really enjoy? Chances are you will enjoy eating the first few but after that you will be eating just so you don’t waste food & money. After 10 pizza slices you will be so full & bloated that you won’t be able get off your chair and that feeling won’t go away for many hours.

That’s what the law of diminishing returns is all about- you enjoy consumption only until a certain point and then your level of satisfaction begins to decrease.

Compare the buffet option prices to your normal meal

If I can pay a dollar or two more than my normal meal to obtain an all I can eat option I would gladly do so. If the buffet option is double the price then no way is it worth it. Think about it- if your normal meal fills you up and provides you with the necessary nutrients/energy for the time being then what’s the point of stuffing your face until you can’t walk?

Drink water not soda

The very kind servers at the buffet will offer you soda or some carbonated drink. They don’t do this to make you happy they do it to fill you up before the meal so you eat less. If you are absolutely convinced on the flat rate buffet option then do yourself a favor by only drinking a small glass of water before your meal.

This started off as more of a rant and ended up as a frugality post. Any frugality tips you guys want to share when it comes to food?

photo: avlxyz

3 thoughts on “How To Prevent Getting Scammed By All-You-Can-Eat Buffet’s”

  1. I rarely choose to eat at buffets. However, since I eat such a small amount, not only do I have to weigh the cost of the buffet against a normal meal, but the additional cost of not having leftovers. I would even pay an additional cost of a meal over the buffet if it means getting leftovers for another meal.

    Also, some buffets have a weight price if you decide to take the meal to go. This can sometimes be cheaper, depending on the weight of the food that you want to eat.

  2. The general rule of being “efficient” and getting the most out of your money at a buffet is to choose the foods that usually cost the most, such as seafood and sushi, and avoid eating rice, noodles, and potatoes.

    Watch out for foods you find to be too salty because people tend to drink a lot of water and end up being full from it.

  3. I googled all you can eat after watching Homer Simpson at the all you eat seafood buffet ( ) & ended up here & ended up quite informed about the law of diminishing returns of which is something I have always suspected. Also another trick of all you can eat places as well as the ole soda refill trick is to offer you bread on the table before the round of all you can eat commences. This is a trick for young players who inevitably end up feasting on the bread thus filling up slightly & eating less from the buffet & therefore getting a lower return on their all of you can eat experience. Always ignore the bread! Be strong!!

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