All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Buffet Says Clean Your Plate – or Else!

by Nindo Mom on February 26, 2011

I was shocked when I heard about this news story on my local radio station this morning. Apparently, a guy named David Martin went to a Los Angelas restaurant and ordered the all-your-can-eat sushi buffet for $28. The problem occurred when Martin decided he only wanted to eat the fish out of the sushi and leave the rice behind.

The restaurant owner told Martin he had to eat the rice, too, or his food wouldn’t be billed at the buffet price. Even when Martin said he was diabetic and couldn’t eat the rice, the restaurant owner stood his ground. So now, Martin is suing the restaurant for $4,000. (He’ll take a payment of $6,000 to let the lawsuit go.)

The restaurant owner insists he would go broke if all his customers only ate the fish out of the sushi and left the rice.

I am personally amazed that a restaurant would behave this way. I’ve eaten at plenty of buffets, and I’ve never seen any written requirements that a customer eat a certain amount of cheap stuff before they’re allowed to eat the good stuff. (Assuming buffets can ever be said to have “good stuff.”)

What if a restaurant charged you a per-item price instead of a buffet price for your children’s meals if they didn’t clean their plates? If there was a restaurant that operated under this rule, I would not be taking my family there.

To everyone I know, the word “buffet” means they will be able to serve themselves, choosing what foods they want and leaving those they don’t. No one would expect an all-you-can-eat buffet to require you to finish your plate of food before getting something else.

If the sushi restaurant owner is unable to offer an all-you-can-eat buffet without harassing customers about finishing all the food on their plates, he should stop making the offer. From the perspective of a restaurant, the benefits of offering a buffet is that it brings customers in. Thus, buffets are a form of marketing–a way of packaging the product to increase sales. And as with any offer made to customers–if it causes a net loss to the business, then the business should use some other method to bring customers in. If a restaurant or other business uses certain marketing methods to bring customers in, they shouldn’t be allowed to change the rules after the customer is on premises. That’s cheating, and it’s dishonest.

In Martin’s case, his excuse for not eating the rice was that he is diabetic. But it shouldn’t matter whether a customer doesn’t want to eat part of his meal because of a physical condition, dietary concerns, or a disliking for a particular food. The reason for what he wants to eat shouldn’t matter in the slightest.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: