Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beverage Charges at Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet, Ryan's

A letter to Country Buffet/Old Country Buffet HQ:

I see that you are now charging for beverages at Old Country Buffet. Interesting that only a couple of years ago you were loudly advertising the fact that you DIDN'T do so when all your competitors did.

It's really disappointing when a retailer (that includes restaurants) attempts to resuscitate corporate profits by sticking it to their customers, especially in tough economic times such as what we're ALL experiencing today.

Instead of helping your customers through the down times, you focus on your bottom line and think only of how to squeeze a bit more cash from customers' wallets.

In terms of marketing that tactic seems rather foolish -- if people are scaling back on dining out, why would they come to OCB if they will be paying MORE for their meal?

We're all in survival mode, but some businesses handle it better than others. Had you any sense or understanding of the marketplace, you would surely realize that offering diners even a temporary price rollback or something extra as thanks for patronizing your restaurants when they should be eating at home to save money, would bring you many more customers and immeasurable good will.

I and my family will no longer be dining at OCB, although we had enjoyed doing so for many years. Along with the ridiculous price increase we saw the last time we visited, your now additional charge for beverages just priced you right our of our budget and more importantly, out of our desire to patronize any merchant who shows such disregard for its customers.

While our "boycott" of OCB won't make a bit of difference to your bottom line, I am certain others will come to the same conclusion we have. I hope that in the end, though you may not lose any money from having fewer customers (you'll make it up in those beverage charges) your image will be tarnished enough so that when people do have greater disposable income for dining out, they'll remember the policies you and other retailers initiated to prop up drooping revenues and patronize those who instead partnered with consumers to weather the storms together.


  1. I'm with you!! My husband and I just went for our last meal at OCB this morning. We've been going for years, even though they've been cutting the selection since their bankruptcy, AND closing the locations closest to us. But this morning was the last straw: I refuse to pay for drinks at a supposed "all you can eat" buffet! What a cheap, lowdown marketing ploy! GOOD-BYE OCB!

  2. Just a comment to clarify the misconception that OCB now charges you MORE by making you pay for beverages. The old dinner price was $12.99 before tax and included your beverage. The new price is $9.99 before tax, NOT including beverage. Water is free. UNLIMITED BEVERAGES will set you back $1.99. Do the math people. My calculator tells me that 9.99 + 1.99 = 11.99 before taxes. If you can't afford to pay $1.99 for access to Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Sprite, Mello Yellow, Mr Pibb, Root Beer, Orange Pop, Strawberry Soda, Pink Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Power Aid, in addition to 3 Flavors of ICEES, Hot Chocolate, 2 different flavors of Cappachinos, Coffee, Hot Tea, White & Chocolate Milk, Raspberry Tea Fresh Brewed Ice Tea and Sweet Tea ALL FOR UNLIMITED REFILLS for less than a 2 liter of pop! Besides, OCB IS in business to MAKE MONEY! Since when is PROFIT a bad word?

  3. And another thing. Can anyone name a restaurant that gives you all the drinks you want FOR FREE? All of OCB'S competitors in the buffet business charge for beverages. When you get coupons for places like Applebees, 2 Meals for $20, that doesn't include the Beverages you order, does it? Does Dunkin Donuts give you Free Coffee when you order donuts? And, from what I've seen at the OCB, most guests are getting 2-3 refills anyway. Come on people, do you yell at the Cashier at the Grocery Store whenever they change price on a given item? THE PRICE IS CHEAPER WITH THE BEVERAGE THAN WHAT IT WAS LAST YEAR. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can't do basic math. Stay home, if you can't afford a Beverage with your meal.