Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All you can eat - Is this ever a good thing?

The last few times I've been watching tv, I keep seeing a commercial for a chain restaurant: All you can eat fries! With any entree!

I wonder if this is ever a good thing? Buffets are bad enough, but I can still see a place for them. Admittedly it is nice to be able to go up and choose a few things from a wide variety of food. But, when a restaurant offers all you can eat on one item, it's just a case of stuff yourself till the cows come home.

I used to work as a server in a rib restaurant that offered all you can eat ribs one night a week. I hated working that night, but it was good money and my husband was in school at the time, so we needed it. Being run off my feet wasn't the part I hated. It was watching customers eat till they were ready to puke. I specifically remember one women who continued to put more and more food in her mouth. It looked like every bite was a struggle. I think the most I ever served to someone was about 25 beef ribs, but the record in our restaurant was around 50. You have to get your money's worth, right?

The thing is, restaurant portions are already supersized. Then then they bring in the marketing gimmick of "all you can eat". I mean, when you order an entree that comes with fries, you probably already have far more on your plate then you should eat. Do you really need to add more to that?


  1. 50 Beef ribs?! Insanity!

    I don't think "all you can eat" is EVER a good idea, even when it's a salad bar, and especially not when it's fries!

  2. Of course you don't need to add more to that. Is it ever a good thing to eat at restaurants serving 'cheat food', whether they have a deal or not? For starters, how can you call that a local restaurant, other than it's proximity to dense population centers? Secondly, the freebie is agri-businesses way to reel you in to consume more. Maximize throughput they say! Puke I say

    The fault lies with the capitalist system—its absurd and irrational logic of unlimited expansion and capital accumulation; its obsessive drive to increase material production in pursuit of profits.
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  3. We don't have a lot of chain restaurants in NYC (outside of Times Square) so it's not a big issue for me until I travel. Next month, when I'm in Colorado, I'll go to Red Robin with my family. And while they offer unlimited fries, there's no way I'll take them up on it. It's just not for me...

    So maybe they won't change their marketing strategies (that are no doubt in place for people who have eyes that are bigger than their stomachs,) but it has not nor will it change my dining experience there..I don't care what others do...it's just my responsibility to make good choices for myself. ;)

  4. You're right, it isn't a local restaurant. I've changed the word to chain restaurant. I was having a mommy mind moment and couldn't remember that term. I used "local" as a substitute rather then naming the restaurant and giving them free advertising.

    I get everything you're saying Mike, but I think sometimes if you want to change the system, you have to start by working within it. It's possible to change a population's mindset a bit at a time, but to overhaul it completely in a moment isn't going to happen.

  5. For truly starving people, it is a good concept. I would love to see famished populations get "all they could eat".

    Not for the rest of us, though. NO, not a good idea at all.

  6. 50 ribs, that is sad, isn't it? No, I agree with you, all-you-can-eat is probably a bad choice for many reasons.

  7. All you can eat is a sad reflection on how we treat food as a drug. That's part of why we have so much trouble with our relationship with food. It is when food becomes recreation, a sport, a anesthetic or an addiction instead of a basic necessity of life that we are in trouble. Eat to live not live to eat. Yes, it can be enjoyable but it shouldn't be a substitute for other things.