Monday, October 11, 2021

Rant: To Buffet, Or Not Buffet, That Is The Question

During the pandemic, once restaurants were permitted to open again, they often had to make changes. One of those changes was the elimination of buffets, especially the all-you-can-eat variety. Such buffets were seen as too dangerous, a health hazard, and justifiably so in many cases. However, some buffets have begun to return, and we shall see whether they succeed or not. Other buffets may never return.

For example, the famed Brazilian churrsasco restaurant, Fogo de Chão, will open at the Burlington Mall on October 12. How will that be received in these times? On the other hand, Prince Pizzeria hasn't restarted their excellent Lunch Buffet, although numerous people have asked for its return. Feng Shui, also in Burlington, hasn't reopened their Chinese/Japanese buffet either. Fuddruckers has reopened their condiment bar, which allows you to choose from a variety of items to top your sandwiches. Maki Maki, in Woburn, has reopened their all-you-can-eat menu, but it's very different than many other buffet options. 

Have you returned to any buffets yet? Are you going to avoid buffets? Should buffets return? Are there any buffets which you feel are especially safe?

I fully understand the potential health concerns about the reopening of buffets. I'm sure some people are torn, loving the general idea of all-you-can-eat buffets but worried about their safety. Some people are willing to go to the buffets, while other may never go to a buffet ever again. Some buffets are enacting measures to make them safer, although such measures may not ensure everyone. 

Since the pandemic, the primary all-you-can-eat buffet I've visited is Maki Maki, in Woburn, because it's very different. There aren't buffet tables where you select what foods you want to scoop onto your dish. In fact, you basically don't get to see the food at all before your order it. Instead, you receive an extensive menu of all the available foods and you tell your server which foods you would like to eat. And once your finish that dish of food, you can order more of the menu until you are full. The food always is served hot and you know no other customer might have interacted with the food. It's a much safer version of a buffet.

This would be a great way for other restaurants to operate their buffets. It could make their customers feel safer, while still providing the benefits of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Why don't more restaurants institute this type of system? It might be a bit more costly, due to greater server interaction, but it might garner more customers as well, which could offset the increased cost.

Have you eaten at Maki Maki, or someplace similar? If so, what are your thoughts on that buffet system?

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