The entirety of the restaurant industry had to make a big shift at the beginning of the pandemic, but perhaps none more so than those that relied on in-person and communal dining, such as buffets. One of the most well-known buffets out there is Golden Corral, and the company's CEO recently explained some of the changes the chain is making amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Corral's CEO Lance Trenary told Restaurant Business recently that the chain has to "completely change our business model and innovate with new ideas” during the pandemic. Some of these new ideas have to do with specific menu items, such as rolling out a menu of plated entrees, rather than relying solely on the buffet. Despite the chain's initial reluctance to add alcohol to menus, Golden Corral is also testing frozen margaritas and daiquiris, along with beer and wine, at participating locations. However, Trenary told the publication that the chain doesn't want it to turn into a "bar-like scene" and that you can only order drinks if you order food. There's also a two-drink limit.
Another big difference is with one of the chain's most iconic aspects: the chocolate fountain. Fans will be happy to know that it's still around but that it's gotten a few alterations to make it safer during COVID-19. It's currently behind plexiglass, and customers tell a staff member what they'd like dipped in chocolate and it's done for them.
All these changes have Trenary feeling optimistic despite the challenges ahead: “Our most loyal followers are coming back,” he told RB. “That’s why we have good confidence. We’re very optimistic that we can recapture not only the buffet lovers, but also introduce a whole new segment to the guests of Golden Corral.”
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