The Cheapest Buffet Food Around

Revolutionizing Buffet Leftovers



A classic buffet, photo courtesy of Foodimentry

Janet Han, Photojournalist

Hungry? How does extremely cheap buffet food sound?


A new company named BuffetGO that was started in Finland by Emil Lolby aims to reduce buffet waste. It sells leftover buffet food for 75-90% off, creating cheap and easy meals for busy people while keeping food from being thrown away. Most of their food is only a few dollars at most. 


The United States tosses over 40% of the food it produces every year, about $165 billions of dollars. Meanwhile, one in every six families doesn’t have enough to eat. Buffets are a popular American institution; Sarah Chen (9) agrees, saying

“Unlimited food for a good price – I’m down!”

But the truth is, all that perfectly good uneaten food goes straight to the trash.


The process is simple – go onto the website, type in a zip code, and a number of participating buffets pop up. Then place an order before going to claim it at a set time, usually near or after closing time. Because most buffets make new food by the hour, the food that is picked up is usually the same food that was made an hour before closing. So eating at a cheaper price doesn’t lower the quality at all.


The company expanded into the US in late September 2016, so there are only a few locations scattered around major cities; the closest one from Yorba Linda is in Norwalk. But they hope to add 45 new locations by the end of October, so it’s not hard to envision a future where getting buffet food for a cheaper price is far more convenient.


Food waste is the biggest contributor to solid waste in the US, and emits methane gases that are 84 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (International Weekly Journal of Science). BuffetGO manages to create a solution that is a win on both sides. Restaurants get to sell food they otherwise would have thrown away, and customers get to eat nutritious food that they may not have been able to afford at the normal price.


Every day, BuffetGO is keeping over 240,000 portions of food from being thrown away on a global level, avoiding 1.7 million pounds of dangerous emissions from rotting food.


The world is growing more conscientious of the food waste it produces, and similar companies have been popping up everywhere. The UK has an app called TooGoodToGo with the similar concept, only with the food coming from restaurants instead of only buffets. And Spain’s YoNoDesperdicio app connects people to trade excess food with others.


So maybe next time instead of going out to a buffet, try ordering from BuffetGO to save the environment and money at the same time.