Golden Corral

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Bring Your Appetite!

Apr 4, 2003 (Updated Oct 28, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:All you can eat; quick service

Cons:Food is unexciting; You often leave feeling sick

The Bottom Line: A pretty good place to eat, offering tons of food for a fair price.


Golden Corral is a buffet- style restaurant chain that was founded by James Maynard in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. This restaurant business has been expanding at a steady pace and it now operates nearly 500 restaurant locations in 38 states.

Menu Selection:

This restaurant operates as a buffet/cafeteria style. When you enter the front door, you have to stand in a looping- type waiting line (similar to what you see at banks) until you get close to the cashier. At this point, you will tell them the number in your party and what you would like to drink. You then grab a cafeteria tray and a plate and find a table to sit down. You can then proceed directly to the buffet area and start loading up your plate.

Golden Corral serves a wide variety of foods, and they are usually divided into three buffet sections. One section includes bread, muffins, butter, and several desserts like ice cream, pies, cookies, and cake. The second section includes salads, cole slaw, potato salad, and salad toppings. The third one includes the main dishes like steak, chicken, fish, pizza, etc., and the side items, such as baked potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, carrots, whipped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pasta & tomato sauce, and so forth.

Beverages include an assortment of soft drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juices, water, and milk. There are no alcoholic beverages available.

Atmosphere/Service:

The interior of Golden Corral is large, but not fancy. A typical restaurant seats between 300 and 400 hungry guests, with a mixture of tables and booths to accommodate everyone who dines.

There are no decorations or theme at the Golden Corral. It’s basically just a bunch of tables, chairs, food, and people. With so many people walking around, getting food, and talking to each other, there really isn’t any need for anything else. The atmosphere is the customers themselves.

Like other buffet style restaurants, Golden Corral is a “dual” service operation. You are expected to walk to the serving areas and get your own food, but your table is also assigned a waiter/waitress who is responsible for keeping your beverages nice and full and supplying your table with a fresh set of clean plates. When you first sit down at your table, the waitress will come over (while you are up at the buffet loading up your plate with food) and read your receipt to see what you ordered to drink. When you get back to the table, your beverage will be there, along with additional plates for each person in your party. That way, you can eat at your leisure and as soon as you are finished, grab a clean plate and go back for more. While you’re away, the waiter/waitress will take away any dirty plates, fill your beverage, and bring you another set of plates. If you run out of beverage while you’re eating, don’t worry- the attentive waiting staff will come right over and ask if he/she can bring you another drink.

Another good thing about Golden Corral is that it's usually squeaky clean! The staff is very efficient and very quick to clean up any messes left on the tables.

Pricing:

The cost to eat at Golden Corral is pretty good. When I have dined there, the price per adult was $9.95. The cost for kids is $6.95. But this price doesn’t include drinks or any applicable sales taxes. So, you can expect your bill to total about $11.50 when you reach the cashier. Also, even though you serve yourself, you are still expected to leave a tip for the waiter/waitress. No gratuity is added to your bill, so it’s up to you to decide how much you feel the drink- filling and plate- replenishing service is worth.

Final Thoughts:

Golden Corral is a pretty good place to dine, when compared to other restaurants. It’s nice to be able to choose exactly what you want to eat, in any portion that you desire. No matter what mood you might be in, you should have no problem finding something to suit you. Whether you’re in the mood for pasta, beef, chicken, fish, or just salad and dessert, you can find what you want in such a large selection.

On the negative side, Golden Corral is often overcrowded and noisy. Even though each restaurant seats a large number of people, it’s still common to have to wait in line, especially on weekends when dining out is most popular. And with all those people, you can expect to hear lots of noise. I can’t tell if Golden Corral has music in the background because with all those customers talking it can’t be heard anyway.

Another somewhat bad thing is the food itself. There’s a lot of food to choose from, and that’s nice. But because the food is mass- produced, it all seems rather plain and boring. For example, you can get pizza, but the choices include cheese, pepperoni, and sometimes one other choice with three toppings. You cannot create your own custom pizza. And the other food items are usually on the bland side, to make sure they conform to the majority of individuals. You won’t find any fancy dishes with spices and seasonings. That’s one of the bad things about buffet- style restaurants in general. You can eat all you want, but you have to accept generic food straight from an assembly line.

Another possible bad aspect to Golden Corral is that it does tend to make people overeat. You don’t have to overeat, but the tendency is there because there are so many choices and because you feel like you should try to get your moneys worth out of the experience. It’s also bad that so much edible food gets thrown out. Customers will load up on a final plate and then realize they can’t possibly finish. The leftovers go straight to the trash can.

Golden Corral is open seven days per week, which is convenient. The normal hours are from 11:00am to 10:00pm. For those locations that serve breakfast on weekends (some do, some don’t- you have to call and check first), the hours are from 7:30am to 10:00pm.

Overall, Golden Corral is a good restaurant, in spite of its minor flaws. It’s true that it can get crowded and noisy and it’s common to leave the place with a serious case of heartburn from overindulgence. But it’s still a nice place to dine from time to time. There are lots of food items to choose from, making it acceptable to the entire family and you can be certain that your hunger will be satisfied for a good long time after leaving. And it’s offered at a fair price, considering how much you get.

Try Golden Corral, and see for yourself what buffet- style dining and unlimited food options can be like. Most everyone will agree that, at the very least, it's a decent dining experience that leaves you nice and full.



Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read Reviews of Other Full- Service Restaurants:

American Style Food:

Denny’s
Hooters
Perkins
Waffle House
Damon’s
Steak ‘n Shake
Cracker Barrel
Frisch’s
Max & Erma’s
Shoney’s
Bob Evans
Hard Rock Cafe
Outback Steak House
Friendly’s
Red Lobster
Texas Road House
Bill Knapp’s
Ground Round
Fricker’s
Hops
Applebee’s
O’Charley’s
BW-3
Ponderosa
IHOP
Ruby Tuesday
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q
Famous Dave’s
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe
Ryan’s Restaurant

Italian:

Olive Garden
Carrabba’s
Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Mexican

Chi- Chi’s
Cozymel’s
Chipotle





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