If the pandemic had come to pull the rug out from under the feet of all-you-can-eat buffets, the latter would have seen their traffic jump since health measures were lifted, surpassing even pre-pandemic visits.
“People wanted to get back to buffets,” said Lance Trenary, CEO of American buffet chain Golden Corral, in an interview with “Restaurant Business” magazine, according to CNN Business on Friday.
Indeed, buffet-goers have reportedly flocked to buffets since the reopening of buffets, where major US chains — Golden Corral, Sissy’s and Pizza Ranch — reported a 125% increase in visits last March compared to January 2021. Media.
The data comes from Placer.ai, an online tool that tracks traffic in restaurants and stores.
At Golden Corral, the CEO reported that sales started to rise again by March 2022, reaching a 14% increase last year compared to its pre-pandemic data.
But their growing popularity is also a symptom of inflation, Placer said, which is pushing more middle-class and low-income families toward all-you-can-eat buffets. According to CNN, congestion increases are closely related to food prices in supermarkets.
“It shows that people are looking for value,” said RJ Hattovy, head of analytical research at Placer.