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Are Buffets Profitable for Restaurants?

Apr 26, 2008
Are buffets profitable for restaurants? They certainly can be but you do have to go about it in the right way. Many customers love being able to get their food quickly when they come in. They may not have very much time or they may have small children that aren't good at waiting. They also like to have a huge selection of foods instead of having to decide on a certain plate off the menu.

It is important to offer the very best foods to your customers for a buffet. They will be looking for homemade mashed potatoes and fresh baked bread. If you take short cuts to save time and money on such items chances are they won't be coming back. Why should they pay money for food that isn't exceptional? You also need to make sure the food on display is fresh and that there is plenty to choose from.

All it takes is getting a customer into your buffet restaurant one time for them to decide if they are going to come back or not. You need to do all you can to make sure they will be returning in the future. One way to do this is to ensure they can afford to come in and eat at your restaurant. Make sure the foods you offer are also comparable to the amount you are charging as they want to feel they got a good buy for their money.

Consider offering a variety of prices on the buffet depending on what time of day it is. Weekdays may be cheaper than weekends if you offer something extra on the weekend such as steak or prime rib. You should charge less for children and for the elderly than you do for adults that come in to eat. This is a great way for the entire family to get a meal they can afford at your restaurant.

Just because your customers will be serving themselves at a buffet doesn't mean you don't need helpful and alert staff. They may need to provide drinks for the customers unless you have stations set up for them to get them on their own. They need to keep the buffet well stocked with food and with plates for customers to access. Since a clean plate will be needed each time they go through the line this is very important indeed.

Some restaurant owners are afraid that having a buffet will cost them more than they will make. There will be some individuals that definitely eat more than what they pay but that won't be the case with everyone that comes in. Chances are they will leave feeling full and thinking they got their money's worth. Yet they will eat less than what they paid for the meal.

You can also save money on the food products you buy if you get them in bulk. You won't be sacrificing quality but you will be able to offer them plenty for their price. You will also be able to make quite a bit of profits. Many restaurant ower's enjoy offering an buffet and they are making good money doing so.

Of course the amount of overhead expenses you have including your building, wages for the staff, utilities, and the cost of supplies will all have to be taken into consideration. Do your best to keep these types of cost low. That way you will have more profits coming in that will stay in your pocket. You can rely on this income later to make changes to improve your buffet restaurant business.
About the Author
Patricia Farnham loves the restaurant business. Read her insight on start a restaurant before you become one of those common statistics.
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