Buffet

Today’s post brought to you by an online random word generator. Coincidentally, I work in a buffet—Golden Corral. I started working there a little over a year ago; nearly 14 months now. The once-booming business has slowed down dramatically and the concept has had to change in that time.

I blame the pandemic for all the changes. Seating capacity is limited to 50%; every other table is closed off to allow for the six-foot required spacing, and now customers are served cafeteria-style, where the employees plate the food for the customer. It’s way different than the free-for-all that everyone is accustomed to, and it’s inconvenient for all concerned. The customer has to tell the employee what they want; the cooks have to sit there to attend to the customer. I suppose it’s a necessary evil for now.

Golden Corral’s buffet line has some tasty options, and others that I find downright repulsive. The in-no-way-all-inclusive list of things includes such items as the Bourbon Street Chicken (teriyaki chicken, basically), the evening Sirloin steak, lasagna, pasta Alfredo, shrimp with pasta, and many other things. On the other extreme, there are grilled chicken and beef livers🤮, Brussels sprouts, macaroni & cheese🤢, steamed cauliflower and other items. Most of the food is good. I’m just around it all the time, so I get tired of the same old thing constantly.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that many restaurants share. It is wise to avoid being one of the first in line when the doors open. Most of the time, the food offered at open is leftover food mixed with the new stuff. Not everything is carried over to the next day, but some of it is. As I said, many places do the same thing. In order to reduce waste, food that is still of quality is saved and cooled at close, then reheated the next morning.

Obviously, if something is substandard or just plain looks like shit, it is tossed into the garbage. That meatloaf you’re eating at 11:00 more than likely was cooked yesterday, saved to health department specifications, and then reheated to a safe serving temperature. Those steaks that were still on the grill at close will probably end up as tomorrow’s steak tips in gravy.

One more thing about restaurants: not everything is prepared from scratch! Many places don’t have the time or the labor available to cook everything from nothing. Many things come in pre-made and/or frozen and reheated. The refried beans at Taco Bell come in a dehydrated bag. Macaroni and cheese at the buffet comes frozen off the truck, thawed in-store and heated in the steamer. I could share some real horror stories from places I’ve worked (not just restaurants), but that’s another day’s discussion…

And now, today’s random motivational quote:

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”
– Maya Angelou

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