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How much should an "all you can eat" buffet cost?

Meal Mart in Monsey is offering that for dinner at 14.99 per adult/child over 12 and 5.99 per child below 12. They had some sort of meat (pepper steak-like), lo mein, sesame chicken nuggets, kugel, potatoes, chicken soup and squash soup. I thought the 14.99 was a bit steep, but my 12 year old son ate enough for 3 people so I guess he got his fair share. What do you think of the price?

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  1. Dairy places that I know of in NJ that have all you can eat buffets (2) are 9.99, the offerings seem more varied than what you describe above, but a) its dairy food and b) they do not have a lower price for children. I think the chinese buffet in Manville is roughly the same price you see at this Meal Mart, not sure if it has much more of a variety than that. All you can eat lunch buffet at Shalom Bombay in Manhattan, also meat, I think is 14.99, also limited items to chose from.

    1. I think that's fair. I remember Shang chai in Brooklyn had a buffet that was about $20/person. If you walked in, you had to pay.

      1. What do entrees cost? What do you usually spend on a meal there? There is too much variability in real estate, staff, and ingredient costs to make comparisons useful. I'd just say that the cost should be slightly more than the cost of an appetizer + entree that is available through the buffet.

        1. Price doesn't seem out of line, but it doesn't sound like much of a buffet. Two main course choices and a couple of side dishes?

          1 Reply
          1. re: queenscook

            I agree. Not enough choices, especially protein.

          2. If you had guests like me they would be losing money on $15 all you can eat:) that is why I LOVE buffet style events. At weddings I find the main to be so anticlimactic compared to the schmorg.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MartyB

              Agree strongly! Bedeken food is often far better than wedding food. I don't go for the food, so I'm not disappointed as a guest, but if I were paying for the thing, I'd be up in arms over the quality of dinner food. I think the caterers just naturally pull out the stops for the bedeken because many of those people will leave before dinner, and they want the maximal exposure for their best food, because it's an investment in their future earnings. Once people are dancing, the food tends to be totally secondary.

            2. Not sure how they can make money at that price. $14.99 won't pay for an entree at most places.

              1. A very good Indian buffet, Tandoor in Lakewood Ranch, FL, is 10 bucks. The only meat is 3 preparations of chicken. The veggie sides are excellent, especially the eggplant.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Veggo

                  And this is a kosher restaurant? If not, then we're talking apples and oranges.

                2. In Chicago's Indian/Pakistani neighborhood (Devon Avenue) there are a ton of Indian all-you-can-eat buffet lunches that usually cost $ 8.95. An iconic "Polish smorgasbord" (The Red Apple) price ranges from $9.40 (weekday lunch) to $11.95 (weekends, which include carve-it-yourself beef, ham, and turkey, otherwise there are around 50 dishes including 20 meat entrees).

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Querencia

                    Sounds good, but I likewise did not notice that this is a Kosher thread.

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        Hey, I am guilty of posting on the wrong boards. I often access posts from the main discussion board page and just click on the ones that interest me, not necessarily noticing the board. More than once I have been "Ooops! they probably don't want steak on the veggie board!

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Yep, same here. And I laugh then too.

                    1. I always thought that the way to charge at a buffet restaurant would be a weigh in before 'n after.....And, charge per pound.... With some sort of minimum charge if you use the bathroom...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: zippypinhead

                        I think there's a riff on that in Douglas Adams' "Restaurant at the End of the Universe," but I can't remember the specifics, and can't access my copy right now.

                      2. Eden Wok in New Rochelle has an all you can eat buffet on Monday evenings that is $19 and change per person.

                        1. as much as the average dinner would in similar settings

                          1. seems fair to me. restaurants in Brooklyn that have 'all you can eat' usually have price points closer to 20/head

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ahuva

                              Wow. I enjoyed reading all the posts this morning. Nice distraction. It is interesting, btw, to see the comparisons between kosher and non-kosher. The only time I've ever been at an all you can eat buffet and felt like a non-kosher person was at a hotel at the Dead Sea in Israel. I felt like I was in Vegas. Still dream about it sometimes.

                            2. Sounds amazingly cheap to me. All you can eat anything for less than an entree???

                              1. At my BBQ restaurant when it existed, the only way I could have made a profit was if my AYCE meals were $45 or more, which is why I didn't do it. If you can get a dinner AYCE for $14.99, I say go for it, if the food is good or better.