Buffets in Singapore aren't your upsetting $8.99 lukewarm, oily piles of food.
In fact, they probably cost something like $89. Sounds like a lot of money, but with all that premium fresh seafood, live food theatres, tables of desserts and more, you'd think you're getting your money's worth.
But do buffets in Singapore actually save you money, or do they cost even more than eating ala carte at restaurants?
1. The law of diminishing marginal utility
Buffets are based on an economic concept called the law of diminishing marginal utility: when you increase consumption of a product, the marginal utility of each additional product consumed beyond the first (assuming all other factors are constant) will decrease.
In short, each plate at a buffet has less value to you than the one that came before it. The first plate might be very satisfying. The second plate a little less so.
In fact, at some point, you might be simply forcing yourself to eat because you want to eat your money’s worth, and pleasure turns into displeasure. Why would you pay to do this to yourself?
2. Less than 30% of customers eat their money's worth
Say, your buffet costs $60. Could you eat $60 worth of food from your favourite neighborhood eatery?
That’s the quantity of food you’re actually buying.
After all, if you could "profit" from a buffet, restaurants wouldn't do them anymore.
3. Food should be about quality, not quantity
If you want quality but find restaurant prices too steep, try offsetting the costs with the right dining credit card. Look for one that gives rebates for dining, like the CIMB Visa Signature, which gives 10% cashback on local dining.
Alternately, pick a credit card that offers straight-up restaurant discounts. The American Express Platinum Card comes with the Love Dining programme, which offers to 50% off restaurants like TungLok Signatures, Dancing Crab, and The Marmalade Pantry.
4. Look at the ultimate dollar cost
Even if it’s all-you-can-eat, a meal is a meal, and you're still spending $60 per head. Most of your meals cost far less than that.
But are we going to give up our buffets?
Nope - it's a great treat from time to time.
Plus, the variety of food, from the best of the best hotel buffets in particular, is unrivalled. And the freedom having a round of dessert in between each plate of food? Priceless.
By Ryan Ong, SingSaver, 26 August 2016
Additional reporting by Pinky Chng
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