He free buffet It is one of the most attractive claims when booking a hotel on vacation. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, ‘all inclusive’ makes customers want to try everything and in large quantities to recoup what they paid. However, marketing experts and industry insiders indicate that the hotel never loses money with this technique, contrary to what it may seem.

Savings in personnel costs

To start, self-service allows a hotel or restaurant save costs such as personnelsince the dishes can be prepared by a “minimal team” of cooks, says Joe Ericsson, managing partner of the food consultancy Restaurant Owner, in The Hustle. This medium analyzed the prices of 30 buffets in the United States taking into account factors such as geographic region, buffet size, time of day or age to calculate the margin these establishments earn.

“In a typical restaurant, a cook may serve 25 clients per hour, at best,” says Ericsson, while “in the same period of time, a single buffet chef could prepare enough food for 200 people“.


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In addition to wanting to try everything, another of the most common behaviors of clients is eat more than necessaryas some listeners told the program Barcode of the Being Chain.

And an all-you-can-eat buffet is still “a call to our most primitive brainthe limbic brain, which knows that food is one of our main needs,” explains Pere Navalles, director of the Master of Neuromarketing at the UAB, to that medium.

To this we must add another aspect addressed by the doctor in Applied Neurosciences and Predictive Behavior Alexia de la Morena: “Our consumer mind is a selector of alternatives. We always look for the most interesting and we always look for the cost-opportunity“.

It is not consumed as much as you might think

However, in the ‘all inclusive’ “it is not consumed as much as one can believe,” says Rubén Ubric, corporate director of the bars in the AM Resorts hotel chain, in that program.


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“The client has a lot of influence, but it is impossible that for a week you can go crazy with everything. In the first days, we all abuse food and drink, but From the third day everything is moderated. “We swap the whiskey for the sparkling water…and we average it,” she notes.

The arrangement of food also influences

Likewise, the food arrangement in this type of buffets has also been previously studied, reveals chef Matthew Britt, assistant professor at the Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts.

The cheapest products usually occupy the first row of the buffet, he notes, since most customers tend to select whatever food is on the first tray. In fact, much of what they consume comes from those first trays, he says.


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Furthermore, they use smaller plates, which create the sensation of consuming more, and use larger serving spoons for foods such as potatoes and smaller tongs for meat. According to Britt, this practice is also used by US hotels with high-end buffets: “They hide the trufflesfoie gras and oysters, you literally can hardly find them.

What happens in those cases where diners eat more? According to Britt, They are usually fewand the benefit is easily recovered in those people who eat less or only consume the cheapest foods.

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