Whether we like it more or less, it is clear that the free buffet is in fashion or, what is the same, managing a buffet restaurant can be that key to success that you have been looking for…

We can find buffet restaurants everywhere we go, from the classic free breakfast buffet offered by all hotels, to the fast food self-service proposals in cafeterias, bars and restaurants in shopping malls, or the innovations in free buffet of haute cuisine in gastrobars, etc.

Would you like to try managing a free buffet in your restaurant or setting up a buffet restaurant? Then take note of the following basic data and advice that we offer you today in the Catering Machinery blog.

What is a buffet restaurant

If we are thinking about the buffet as a possible single or alternative business route, the first thing we have to decide is whether we are going to set up a buffet restaurant or place a buffet inside our restaurant. What is the difference? What is a buffet in a restaurant?

Simple: if we decide to mount or reform our local to become a restaurant buffet, we usually have to forget about offering another type of service (menu, letter …). On the other hand, if we decide to incorporate buffet service in a restaurant we will leave the door open to offer that service at the table which is still as profitable as ever, especially at the dinner table.

As you see, choosing one or another option will influence very much how to manage a restaurant both from the point of view of supplies, personnel, accounting, operating costs, etc. What are the advantages and disadvantages of deciding on a buffet restaurant? Take note:

Main advantages of the buffet restaurant:

  • You will need to hire less room staff. Since we are talking about self-service, it will not be necessary to hire as many waiters and assistants as you would need to serve a menu or à la carte restaurant. In any case, do not skimp on the “staff” section, there is nothing worse than entering a buffet restaurant and not finding room because all the tables are occupied with leftovers and dirty dishes from previous customers…
  • You are not subject to a particular menu or menu so you save costs by buying according to the best product price of the day.
  • The investment you need to make in furniture and machinery specialized in self service is not very high.
  • Unless you offer a very special gastrobuffet or dishes complicated to prepare, you do not need to hire a top chef.

Main disadvantages of the buffet restaurant:

  • If you don’t manage orders and food recycling very well, you will have an excess of leftovers and you will lose money. By “recycling” food, we mean the famous “recycling”, converting surplus fresh produce into delicious new dishes.
  • Keep in mind that you will need a more or less wide space that allows the circulation of the clients of the self service to the table area. You will also have to limit the size of the tables and chairs in the dining room and the furniture on the terrace to make the most of the available space.
  • You will fight against a growing competition and with better prices.
  • You will need to hire enough kitchen assistants to keep up with the pace of food consumption. You will also have to acquire enough quality kitchenware so that all employees can do their job as quickly and professionally as possible. However, you can overcome this disadvantage by purchasing the kitchenware you need from a reliable supplier who offers you a fair deal. An example? This hotel and restaurant machinery store. Contact our expert Customer Service now and tell us about your project.

Tips to make your restaurant buffet fall in love with customers

As we mentioned at the beginning, the free buffet is more fashionable than ever and it is important to keep it in mind because you will be fighting with a wide and very fierce competition.

Business management gurus say that creating a competitive advantage is vital when deciding how to run a business, be it a restaurant, a clothing store or a hospitality equipment company. What can be the competitive advantages of your buffet that will make you stand out from the crowd of free service restaurants? Here are some ideas:

Betting on fresh products. Salads are the great protagonists of the most popular buffets: lettuces, tomatoes, onions, peppers, broccoli, peeled and cut fruit… Anything goes in the universe of fresh and healthy food and, moreover, the investment you will have to make in this type of products will be very profitable because they are cheaper than meat or fish, they can be kept cold and will serve you from one day to the next and, moreover, the work of preparation and cleaning of the kitchen will be minimal.

Do not neglect the aspect of the offer. A picture is worth a thousand words is one of the favorite phrases of the great gourmets of our country. Even if you limit your breakfast buffet to, for example, coffee, bread and butter, expose them in such a way that customers think they are tasting the most elaborate sweet in the world.

Make your customers loyal. We all want our customers to fall in love with our work and be loyal to us forever, right? That maxim also applies to a buffet restaurant, a business that needs a large group of loyal customers to fill the premises morning and night. How can you charm these hungry lovers of self-service? In many different ways: from offering membership cards with daily discounts, to the possibility of reserving the tables farthest away from the refrigerated display cases or the hot tables.