Christmas Buffet Meals: Is it Value for Money?

February 13, 2018

When it comes to celebrations, we prefer visiting hotels and restaurants that offer good quality food which is value for money. During such occasions consumers prefer indulgence, and a chance to socialise with their family and friends with no dishes to clean up. Thus, nothing beats a good buffet meal when it comes to cost vs quantity and quality.

 While consumers still pay attention to the price, taste, convenience and hygiene, there are other factors that are becoming significantly important when deciding where to eat. These are experience, food variety and quality.

 Eating out at a buffet can be a good value for money as one can eat as much as he/she likes at a specific price. If one does not like any dish, they can always find something else to eat given the variety of meals offered to consumers.

 However, it is worth noting that some buffets are of high quality where as others are not considering the price we pay.

 The Council has found certain hotels and restaurants trying to cut corners during this Christmas season by offering less variety of food, poor quality food at a high price when compared with other hotels/restaurants that are giving wide selection of quality food at reasonable prices.

 When it comes to buffet meals, consumers look for a wide variety of spread that has the required taste, is appealing and of great quality.

 The Council has noticed that some hotels offer buffet meals for about $50 per head while others offer buffet meals for as low as $30 per head. It is normal for people to assume that if they are paying $50 for buffet meals, then the meals would be of a certain standard with a wide range of salads, food and desserts to choose from. It is expected that one should get more variety of dishes made from quality ingredients and produce that appeals to the taste buds.

 Recently a group of diners had a different experience with buffet meals. They paid $50 per head for a Christmas buffet lunch at a well-known hotel. Unfortunately, the experience turned out to be nightmare, as they did not get value for money. They found limited selection of salads, main courses and desserts that lacked the taste and appearance. Low quality meat (lamb neck pieces) and fish were used to prepare the dishes. These diners left the hotel with great disappointment when they compared their experience with another 4 star hotel in Sigatoka.

 This hotel in Sigatoka charged $30 per head for a buffet meal that offered a wide variety of tasty food that included chocolate fountain, roast turkey, curries, pasta, Chinese dishes, nuts on salads and many more exotic foods. The selection was extremely appetizing and definitely value for money.

 The stark difference in quality and quantity of food clearly shows that Christmas buffets are now becoming a money-making event. Some appear to be operating under the assumption that “what customers don’t know won’t hurt them.”

 Some hotels have learned to be creative by resorting to some really sneaky tricks such as setting the buffets in a manner that encourages you to fill your plate with inexpensive items like salads, soups, carbs or turning left over into a new dish. Some use cheap Palm oil labelled as vegetable oil for cooking.

 Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. You must know what you are paying for and if you don’t get value for money, then you must let the hotel or the restaurant owners know. Such feedback will assist them to improve their food to retain their customer base or otherwise such bad publicity can affect their business.

 Here are some tips to get value for money.

  • The best way to get your money’s worth on a buffet is to eat as fresh as possible. Don’t go for common dishes that are generally prepared at home. Also choose fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, olives, and avocados to increase the value of your buffet.
  •  Drinks can make an otherwise affordable buffet quite expensive. If drinks are included, go for it. If not, you may want to stick to water with lemon, or decide on only one drink or two.
  • Buffets are not a dine-and-dash type of meal. Don’t rush. Take your time to taste different food at ease.
  • Look for foods that are fairly popular among diners, that gets refilled often, and appear fresh. If anything doesn’t look right, then don’t eat.
  • Be courteous. Don’t take more than what you can eat at one time. Don’t waste food.

 The Council is advising consumers to enjoy their buffet, however, to choose their hotels/restaurants wisely.