Is it Better to Offer Buffet or Full Service on Thanksgiving?
As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, you may be considering the idea of a buffet. Many people enjoy buffets and they can be quite popular over the holidays. It allows your customers to eat what they want in the quantities that they want. However, is it right for your business? There are many things that you should consider as you look at this alternative. Sometimes a buffet is a good idea and other times it can backfire. When you answer the questions below, you will know whether or not a buffet is the route you should take.
What is your target market?
Many of your restaurant business decisions will start and end with this question. Thanksgiving Dinner is no exception. Who are the people you are trying to attract and what do they expect from you? This will play a vital role in what you should do. Families often enjoy a buffet simply because it is simpler for the parents. Kids are generally picky and a buffet allows them to choose from a wide variety of offerings, while eating at their own pace. Higher end customers generally prefer to be waited on and have their food served in a more elaborate setting. Look at your target market and see if a buffet is something they would expect, or enjoy, at your restaurant.
Are you typically a buffet?
The simple fact is that if your restaurant is ordinarily a buffet restaurant then you should likely continue that type of service with the Thanksgiving Dinner. It is what customers expect from you. If, however, you are a sit-down, full service establishment, then you might not have the same success with a buffet. Many people view buffets in a different light than they view full-service and It could impact on what you need to charge and the clientele you will attract.
Do you have the right equipment?
Food that is not kept properly will not only be dangerous, it will not taste good. So it is important that you have the right equipment before you plan a buffet. For a restaurant that already offers a buffet this is not an issue. For one that does not, this could be a problem and might even be the deciding factor to skip it. Look through your equipment and see if what you have will meet your needs. Keep in mind you will need food stations, steam tableware, serving utensils and much more. If you are thinking of purchasing this equipment, then you will want to ensure that it will not put you over budget.
Can you afford it?
It might cost a bit more to have a buffet dinner than you would pay for a limited menu. You are providing customers with the ability to eat whatever they would like in higher quantities. This could significantly increase your food costs. Even one item, such as turkey, can prove to be quite costly when you offer it in unlimited quantities. If you are also open for the majority of the day, then you will find it even more expensive.
In the end, whether or not to have a buffet is a personal choice. You have to examine the costs, benefits and whether or not it will attract business. If you feel that you can make more money through a buffet then take the chance. However, if you feel it will turn off your customers, then it is best to stick to the venue that has been responsible for your success thus far.