Why Hotels Don't Lose Money on Free Buffets: The Trick Lies in the First Courses

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.03 - 2024 9:44 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Hotels have a special reason for not losing money when offering a free buffet to their guests.

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Herrera en COPE delved into a study that analyzes the technique hotels employ to make buffets profitable, as reported by Senest.

In recent years, restaurants offering unlimited food for a fixed price have become increasingly popular. This model is widespread, especially in Japanese restaurants known for their sushi.

Another arena where the buffet reigns supreme is at hotel breakfasts. For many, having access to a lavish breakfast is crucial while on vacation, even if it raises the stay's price.

One major question that arises is whether it is worth paying for? And is it profitable for hotels to offer this?

In Herrera en COPE, the focus was on a study that examined how buffets operate and whether they truly generate profit for restaurants and hotels.

Why Hotels Don't Lose Money on Their Buffet

"A study concludes that at a buffet, the hotel always makes money because we fill up on the first courses, and the most expensive dishes are at the end of the line," Carlos Herrera explained in the section 'Los de Bilbao'.

This has been demonstrated in several hotels in Las Vegas by studying customer behavior at buffets. The study found that 'we become blind when we arrive', and eventually, we do not eat the dishes further along, which tend to be more expensive.

When we approach a free buffet, we mostly eat with our eyes, leading us to take a little bit of many different dishes. By the time we're done, we go for another round. Since the most expensive items are usually at the end of the line,

This is precisely why it often makes sense for hotels to offer a breakfast buffet. On the other hand, it also brings great joy to many guests, as they can choose their breakfast themselves. This way, they can also control how much they eat.