Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Two men banned from all-you-can-eat buffet for being ‘pigs’

Stock photo


When a restaurant advertises it's all-you-can-eat, does it really mean all you can eat?

Apparently, no. As George Dalmon and Andy Miles discovered, there is a limit, especially if you eat as much as they do. The two British men have been banned from Gobi restaurant in Brighton, England, after the owner accused them of being "a couple of pigs," according to The Telegraph.

As The Telegraph reports, the Mongolian barbecue restaurant invites customers to assemble dishes from its buffet "as many times as you wish," for 12 GBP, or about $19. But the manager, who declined to be named, told the newspaper the pair had been taking advantage of the deal for two years, and were eating the restaurant out of business.

Story continues below advertisement

"Basically, they just come in and pig out," the manager said, adding that the two diners habitually clear out the buffet before other customers have a chance.

Dalmon defended himself, saying the restaurant's bowls are so small, they have to keep going back for more to satisfy their appetities. He added the owner "went absolutely mental" when he notified them they were banned. "He said we were a couple of pigs and we were banned for life. I couldn't believe it," he told The Telegraph.

While online commenters debate whether the restaurant should uphold its all-you-can-eat promise, it may be worth questioning the merits of all-you-can-eat in the first place.

First, as Martin Caraher, professor of food and health policy at City University London, pointed out to the BBC, the all-you-can-eat model, which emerged out of the U.S. during the 1930s, encourages demand for "big portions, rubbish food."

"What we actually need is higher quality and people eating less," he said.

(A recent anti-obesity ad out of Minnesota was criticized for being too harsh, but its message – carried by two children boasting of how much their fathers can eat – does have a point. Is gorging really something to be proud of?)

Moreover, from an economic perspective, all-you-can-eat doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As Forbes magazine explained , it forces restaurants to set their price above what average customers eat. In theory, this then creates a vicious cycle, whereby anyone who eats less than what they're asked to pay no longer finds it a good value.  Thus, only customers who eat more than the stated price will dine there, skewing the average all over again.

Story continues below advertisement

"This process continues, until there is only one guy left going to the buffet, and he eats $300 worth of fish and is charged exactly $300 for it." Forbes contributor Adam Ozimek, wrote. "In effect, this theory says that all-you-can-eat buffets should not exist."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨