After two years of eating five plates each and tipping poorly, a couple of 20-something fellas were booted from Gobi, a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant in Brighton, after the manager labeled the duo “a couple of pigs,” according to the British press.
At first, I thought this was unfair because getting kicked out for eating too much at an all-you-can-eat restaurant is like getting kicked off the math team for getting every question right, or having too much fun at a rock concert. Kicking these two blokes out but letting others continue to eat is pure discrimination.
But, as I kept reading about their poor dining etiquette, I began to sympathize with the restaurant owner who says their presence hurt the dining experience of others. If there’s a plate of sashimi, and some fella grabs everything and leaves none for you, that sucks! At $19 a head, I can’t believe Gobi Restaurant is losing money even after a person eats five plates each. However, a business is a business, and a restaurant or service company can refuse service to anybody for whatever veritable reason.
THE POOR AND HUNGRY NEED LOVE TOO
As a bootstrapping entrepreneur now, I’ve taken to eating at my local Indian all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant for lunch once a week. The cost is only $11 after taxes and tip. Eating Indian buffet helps save money on dinner given I end up eating two plates of food vs. one normally. I’m never going to eat five plates, but even if I did, I don’t think the owners would mind given I’m a respectful customer.
I’m constantly thinking of ways to reduce expenses now that my income has been slashed. I’ve refinanced a couple mortgages, cut web server costs, stopped buying anything unnecessary, and eat out much less. Of course, there’s only so much in costs one can cut, which is why I’m spending the vast majority of my time trying to increase income.
Still, if I knew that my local Indian buffet restaurant had kicked out customers for overeating, I don’t think I could eat there in peace. Every plate I take, I’ll start looking up at the staff wondering if they are watching me. If I want to eat dessert, I’ll second guess myself whether it’s OK.
SUE OR THANK?
It’s no surprise that the Brighton fellas are quite large. I spent 12 days on a cruise the other month with all-you-can-eat meals everyday and I gained 10 pounds (join my challenge if you want)! When food is plentiful, it’s practically impossible NOT to over eat. We all want to get more than our money’s worth. However, in the long run, eating such hefty amounts of food is unhealthy and will likely result in an earlier death.
Given this logic, should the Brighton fellas thank the owner for helping them eat less? Eating too much is a disease which left untreated leads to obesity. Or would you sue the hell out of the restaurant for discrimination? If you won, you could use your proceeds to eat at only the finest restaurants going forward!
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland says
Sounds like they need to rethink their policies — I mean, why own an all-you-can-eat restaurant if you don’t want gluttons in there? Moneycone and people like moneycone don’t GO to buffets, only the hungry hungry hippos do!
101 Centavos says
No shoes, no shirt, no manners… no service. I can sympathize with other diners being put off by the behavior of those gluttonous wankers. Then again, it’s a relatively free market, you can always seek other places to dine.
I think that there’s a bell curve that goes along with most buffets and their customers. On one end you have people that barely eat anything, so they make a ton of money. In the middle is most customers where they eat a decent amount but the business still makes money. On the far end are the few customers that they actually lose money on. Normally, the establishment is willing to take that on, but if they see it’s the same people, that is probably not something they’re willing to take on.
As far as whether the customers have a right to sue, I’d say no. Most establishments have a right to refuse service to anyone for any reason so long as it doesn’t violate a constitutional right (i.e. they can’t discriminate on race, gender, etc). If they don’t want to serve them because they’re losing money on them, that’s within their rights. Biggest issue I see is that there will be backlash from others who will feel it’s unfair, and they’ll get a bunch of people going in and doing the same thing as those who were banned.
Financial Samurai says
I hear yah. I wouldn’t mind losing money on customers who continue to overeat if they are NICE and help spread the word. But if they are rude, and make the environment less nice for my other customers, I have to draw the line!
When I see a buffet, my appetite goes away – always been a problem when I see large quantities of food. Buffet owners love customers like me! 🙂
That’s the first time I’ve heard someone say that! Ha they really would love you as a customer. 🙂
Financial Samurai says
I’ve never heard of that either! haha
I think it’s a good thing those guys were asked not to come back. If they’re over hoarding food and ruining the experience for the other customers, then the owners have every right to refuse service. That’s why you see signs in a lot of restaurants and businesses that clearly read, “we have the right to refuse service.”
Perhaps the restaurant wasn’t losing that much money based on what those 2 guys were eating, but if their behavior causes other customers not to come back then the losses could be much bigger. Plus if they keep eating as much as they have been, they’re going to die at an early age and run up a lot of health care expenses as their bodies fail.
I think your experience eating 2 plates at a buffet is reasonable esp since you don’t eat another 2 plates later on the same day. Although if your 2 plates were stacked six inches high each then that’d be a different story. 🙂