Singaporeans are the craziest people on earth when it comes to pigging out at buffets. We adore having the wide selection of food with no restriction on the amount we consume. We want to feel as though we have consumed more than what we have paid for.
But if we assume this is true, how is it possible that buffet restaurants are still making money if all of us consumers feel the same way.
In short, these buffet restaurants might have tricked us into believing that the buffet meal is worth the money. They got their consumers and game plan all figured out, and it all starts even before you eat.
Paying More Makes You Think You Are Getting Better Food
According to a research paper, diners' taste evaluation changes based on the amount they paid. In the experiment, two groups of diners were made to pay a different price for the same buffet. Interestingly, consumers who paid less faced a faster decline in satisfaction with each food item they consumed, compared to their counterparts who paid more for the same buffet.
This shows that when restaurants charge a higher price for buffets, people have a tendency to think that the quality of food is better, even while they are being served the same food.
This is a pricing strategy that buffet restaurants employ.
Types Of Utensils Used Will Affect Your Decision Making
The serving utensils placed with each buffet dishes act as a subtle guide for diner's portion sizes. For example, in Korean BBQ restaurants, we find bigger spoons used on inexpensive carbs such as rice while smaller tongs are used for the more expensive meat section.
This little inconvenience helps buffet restaurants to minimise their cost while maximising their profits.
Cost Efficiency In Labour
Unlike ala carte dishes, buffet food does not require individual preparation. This reduces manpower required as well as preparation time. In addition, fewer staffs are needed as there is no need to take individual orders or serve tables.
Keeping Costs Low For Premium Dishes
To keep cost in check for premium dishes, buffet restaurants employ a variety of strategies.
Firstly, to discourage diners from taking too much, these dishes are presented in smaller quantity. For example, if you see 10 oysters on the serving plate, you might take just 2-3 pieces, and leave the remaining for other diners. If you see a 100 being served at one go, you might just take 10 pieces at a go.
Serving premium dishes in smaller quantity also allows restaurants to control the consumption of these dishes while simultaneously making them look expensive. This increases the perceived value of the food item to diners.
In conclusion, a buffet restaurant can be a difficult business model. It has to be cost-effective on its product and at the same time tap into psychological aspect the minds of diners and influence them towards a certain decision. But clearly, if done right, it can be a very successful.
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