Ever gone for all-you-can-eat sushi? Mongolian BBQ? Fish and Chips? Whatever the food, with all-you-can-eat, there's almost always the temptation to go back for another helping, regardless of whether hunger still calls. After all, you've got to get your money's worth of sashimi and noodles.
Now, two men from Britain who regularly got their money's worth at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ in Brighton, have been banned from the restaurant and told never to come back, after being reemed out by the manager for being "a couple of pigs", reports the Telegraph.
George Dalmon and Andy Miles — two sturdy fellows, judging by photos — would reportedly each eat five bowls of stirfry on each of their regular visits to the restaurant, which allows diners to fill up "as many times as you wish" for 12 pounds (about 19 dollars).
According to the manager, the two men were a cost liability.
"They are in such a hurry to beat everyone to the food they spoil everything," the manager tells the Telegraph. "We are supposed to be a buffet but they eat everything out of the bowls before people can get there. We just can't keep doing this."
The men defended themselves, saying the bowls were small.
The incident has sparked an online debate about whether the restaurant should be obliged to fulfill their promise. Does all-you-can-eat really mean all-you-can-eat? Or does it mean "all-you-can-eat-within-reason," or perhaps "all-you-can-eat-as-long-as-we-can-maintain-a-healthy-profit-margin"?
Comments on the Telegraph article ranged from, "How sad that the only claim to fame these two gluttons have is that their poor behaviour and eating habits resulted in being banned from a restaurant" to "This is absolutely outrageous. Two growing lads with a healthy appetite being victimised for enjoying their food."
The incident has also started a conversation about whether all-you-can-eat, in this age of obesity, should exist at all.
"Having too much food available is simply more work," says Toronto nutritionist Mary Bamford. "At a buffet you have to use enormous restraint to take in the appropriate amount of food."
Bamford points out that for many people, all-you-can-eat is a lose-lose situation.
"If you don't overeat, you've said 'no' so many times that it just doesn't feel like value, but if you overeat and don't feel well. That sure doesn't feel like value, either."
Bamford says that in order to keep prices down, all-you-can-eat joints often serve a lot of carbohydrates and fat, which are not the ideal foods to be eating in abundance.
The lesson? All-you-can-eat is usually not the healthiest choice, so if you have to go, be prepared to exercise restraint. If you're still determined to get your money's worth, go ahead and pig out -- just don't be surprised when the manager comes calling.