How The Pricing Of All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Can Affect Your Mind

How The Pricing Of All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Can Affect Your Mind

People like to believe they’re getting what they pay for, whether it’s accurate or not. The next time you make your way to a buffet, know how the pricing might alter your perception of the entire meal.

Picture: Zhi Yong Lee/Flickr

Buffets come in a wide variety, some incredibly expensive and others suspiciously cheap. You’d think it’s safe to assume that the more expensive buffets have better food, but that could just be your brain tricking you. A recent study headed by David R Just, a professor at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management — and published in the Journal of Sensory Studies suggested that the more a buffet cost, the more convinced diners were that the food they were eating tasted good.

In a comparison between the same buffet priced at $4 and $8, diners who paid more for their meal found the food 11 per cent tastier overall. Additionally, the diners that paid $4 for the buffet found that the taste of their food had diminishing returns as they ate more of it, but the $8 group experienced no such phenomenon.

While it can be said that many expensive buffets do offer higher quality foods, it’s not always the case. So if you plan on hitting up a buffet sometime soon, be a smart consumer and remember that price doesn’t necessarily equal quality. A cheap buffet could be just as good — or better — than a more expensive one.

Lower Buffet Prices Lead to Less Taste Satisfaction [The Journal of Sensory Studies via The Food Network Blog]

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