All-you-can-eat buffets and bottomless brunches - how do you make the most of them?

in Going Out Deals
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I'd like to hear your tips for making the most of all-you-can-eat buffets or bottomless brunches.

(Perhaps you're a little less inclined to go for a buffet these days, but bottomless brunches seem to be more popular than ever.)

Here are a few techniques for starters:
  • Don't eat breakfast beforehand.
  • Do one full walk of the buffet to make a plan before piling up your plate.
  • In the case of bottomless brunch, get friendly with your server.
  • Don't book a table for peak time.
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Replies

  • PondskaterPondskater Forumite
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    tacpot12 said:
    I think some of your tips are in poor taste. Eating more than you need to eat is a receipe for obesity and ill health. 

    Eating sensibly sized meals on a regular timetable is proven to promote good health. Eating as much as you can at odd times of the day will make you fat and ill. I don't think MSE should be encouraging people to behave in this way. 
    Very sensible indeed! However, life would be very dull if we didn't have a blow out now and again, just not every day. This reminds me of a television documentary I watched once. It was in the US and a family went to an all you can eat buffet. After having eaten their fill they proceeded to refill their plates and then asked for a doggy bag. You can be sure they got short shrift.
  • edited 13 January at 5:27PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 13 January at 5:27PM
    I don’t.
    Life is far too short to worry about whether I can cram an extra potato down without making myself sick. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • comeandgocomeandgo Forumite
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    Would never go near them.  Why would anyone eat more than they need. Total greed.
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    Quality, not quantity - cherry pick your favourite bits.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • edited 13 January at 5:53PM
    MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    edited 13 January at 5:53PM
    I have only been to an all you can eat buffet place three times. My friends can be very persuasive!

    Sadly, I cannot eat much at these places, no matter what time we go. And drinks are not included so they are not cost effective for someone like me who just cannot stuff their face to order. Even when I feel hungry I can't do it.

    A Cosmo opened in our city centre a few years ago and it's always jam packed - or rather it was, prior to the pandemic. It isn't a drop in place, you DO have to book a table in advance. If you don't, you can wait to see if something opens up but generally it's not worth a wait.

    It doesn't matter whether you book a table at peak times or not because there are still the same number of people milling around and I find the general atmosphere is better when there are more customers. You have to leave after 90 minutes. I have to say that what food I had there was very good and tasty, though.

    It's currently £16.99 per person - a couple of pounds more at weekends and peak times though) which is a complete waste of money for me because I probably eat around £5 worth, including pudding. And I usually just have water to drink because paying around £20 in total (more if you have a hot drink) is just ridiculous.

    I have seen groups of younger people, mostly men, come in and they really can eat loads - they do get the best value for money. I don't know where they put it all! But maybe they are very active because they aren't plump! 

    Once a friend insisted on paying for my meal but I felt really guilty as I ate a sparrow portion. I think you have to find the right place for you. I do like Pizza Express, for a treat!

    N.B.
    MSE forum rules : "No two people have the same circumstances or experience and it is up to you to investigate, check and check again before you make any decisions or take any action based on information you glean from our community. Remember, don't rely on what you are reading. Verify it and protect yourself. You are responsible for any action you consequently make."  
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    tacpot12 said:
    I think some of your tips are in poor taste. Eating more than you need to eat is a receipe for obesity and ill health. 

    Eating sensibly sized meals on a regular timetable is proven to promote good health. Eating as much as you can at odd times of the day will make you fat and ill. I don't think MSE should be encouraging people to behave in this way. 
    I do agree about being sensible but as Pondskater says, every now and again won't hurt.

    I honestly don't think that MSE carrying out some jokey kind of research will encourage people to behave in any way at all, since we are all far too intelligent with minds of our own to be persuaded to act like sheep. (We ARE, right?)   :)

    N.B.
    MSE forum rules : "No two people have the same circumstances or experience and it is up to you to investigate, check and check again before you make any decisions or take any action based on information you glean from our community. Remember, don't rely on what you are reading. Verify it and protect yourself. You are responsible for any action you consequently make."  
  • BrieBrie Forumite
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    I don't go to any of these things anymore.  Not for health reasons but because I find in the UK any I tried were just incredibly unpleasant.  Badly made food, badly presented, surly staff (vicious circle - I'm sure they were never tipped) and not good value.  The one exception was one of the Heathrow airport lounges - a friend bought me a pass when I was travelling close to my birthday.  Very nice to sit in a calm environment and have an endless supply of fruit and cheese.  I may have had a glass of white wine as well.  And it didn't cost me a thing!

    I've been to a number of these in Canada and yes when you pick your day and time and dining companions they can be great fun.  And it never seemed to be about stuffing your face until you were ill but being able to have a variety of stuff you might never normally try and taking your time and enjoying the outing. 

    There was a posh place in Toronto that had an amazing selection of fish - fresh anchovies, pickled herring, mackerel, salmon, calamari.  Yum!  

    And Schneider's.....dare I say OMG!  An incredibly pleasant place for a Sunday brunch and joy and miracle they had a non stop supply of eggs benedict.  And eggs benjamin (royale in the UK?).  And eggs florentine.  Basically they had rafts of poached eggs with various accompaniments all drowning in Hollandaise.  Absolute heaven.  

    Mother's Pizza was an eye opener to me as I was there with friends, one of whom was quite frankly very obese.  Excellent food but it was the first time I realised one didn't necessarily get fat from eating too much cake.  Pizzas and pasta were quite as bad.  It had never occurred to me.  And I've never seen anyone eat so much lasagne.

    Only other place of note is in the Netherlands where they had a breakfast buffet that included 8 types of gouda and massive trays of tissue thin slices of massively rare roast beef.  Who needs the full English with that available?
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    Theres been hundreds of articles on getting best value...

    Stock up on the expensive/high protein options like prawns, lobster, duck etc and avoid the low value bulk it out stuff like rice, chips, pasta etc

    Drink only water - buffets are often loss leaders and the money is in the drinks


    Personally avoid all of these... I'm there to have a good time not to screw the restaurant so will eat and drink what I enjoy and maybe just have a bit more duck than normal.


    The big country hotel near where we used to live used to do a "farmers market" every few Sundays which was an all you can eat carvery type thing but on a totally different level to any other. Was a reasonable price (considering 5* hotel) but it was easy to then sit in the grounds, have a drink or two after, then realise you cant drive so may as well have another one or two and then find you've spent three times as much on drinks as the food and still need to pay for a taxi back.

  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    I'd never eat anything shellfishy off an all you can eat buffet - or indeed a buffet of any sort. 
    Never seen lobster anywhere like that - I'm obviously too low rent. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
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