Las Vegas, NV

Plans to Permanently Close All-You-Can-Eat Buffets

Joel Eisenberg

As plans for both national chains buffets and iconic Las Vegas buffets are regularly revised, checking resources to determine updates becomes imperative.

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Old Country BuffetAdobe Stock

Author’s Note

This article is free of bias and based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Today.com, Blog.Cheapism.com, Mashed.com, LasVegasHowTo.com, KTNV.com, Yelp.com, and Vegas.Eater.com.

Introduction: An Update On National Buffet Chains

In February, 2002, NewsBreak published my article, “Buffet Restaurants Scheduled to Close in 2022.” One month following the publication of that piece, the buffet industry has, yet again, exhibited a degree of uncertainty. Some entities that appeared to be safe as previously reported are no longer secure; others that were endangered have, for now, received the aid necessary to continue business.

This update of last month’s article will focus on some not on the revival list, as well as iconic Las Vegas, Nevada versions of the same.

As excerpted from an April, 2021 Today.com piece as discussed in the article, entitled “Are Buffets a Thing of the Past? Reimagining ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ in a Post-Covid World,” by Ronnie Koenig: Shared spoons, salad bar sneeze guards and standing in line next to other hungry customers in order to pile your plate high seems in direct opposition to the safety measures we've all adopted surrounding food service. On Wednesday, Fresh Acquisitions, the parent company that owns Old Country Buffet, filed for bankruptcy, illustrating just how difficult it has been for restaurants whose concept centers around a communal dining experience.

However, according to a December, 2021 update from Blog.Cheapism.com, “These Buffet Chains Have Closed Locations Permanently,” regarding Old Country Buffet: This once-ubiquitous buffet was among the chains that shuttered as a result of parent company Fresh Acquisition’s bankruptcy in April. Old Country Buffet has a new owner, BBQ Holdings, but executives there say they have no plans to breathe new life into the once-extensive chain, which was down to just under 17 locations from hundreds at the beginning of 2019, according to Mashed.

Other national buffet chains have also been in search of buyers of late, which are listed in the Blog.Cheapism.com article. Those that have found new owners and have announced plans to return to pre-pandemic levels include Cicis’s and HomeTown Buffet, among others.

However, among those buffets that are generally not in the national dialog due to their local nature are those destination all-you-can-eat hotel eateries in Las Vegas.

Let us explore further.

Vegas Buffets, 2022

As anyone who has spent time in Vegas can attest, hotel and casino buffets — as well as some entities off that well-procured track — have been as much of the Vegas experience as gambling and live show extravaganzas.

For Las Vegas buffets that are presently open or have reopened since temporarily closing during the height of the pandemic, LasVegasHowTo.com maintains a regularly-updated list. Click here for those Vegas buffets that are fully operational as of the time of this writing.

Today’s list includes, for those buffets on the Vegas strip alone: Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, The Buffet at Bellagio, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Grand Buffet, The Buffet at Excalibur, Circus Circus Buffet, and The Buffet at Luxor. The article also lists currently open buffets off the strip, including downtown.

As for closures, according to KTNV.com the buffets at Station Casinos are closed permanently. In his article entitled “Las Vegas Locals, Employees Disappointed Station Casinos Buffets 'Will Never Return,'” journalist Ross DiMattei reported on an earnings call by Frank Fertitta, the CEO of Red Rock Resorts Inc., who said: "We’re going to put the dollars into the place where we make money. It’s going to be a focus on slot machines and table games, our primary business. We’ll have several restaurant options. We will not have a buffet."

Further, Yelp.com states Mandalay Bay’s Bayside Buffet is permanently closed, and Vegas.Eater.com reported back in 2020 that Treasure Island’s buffet has been permanently shuttered.

It is advised for those who are planning to visit Las Vegas, to check the LasVegasHowTo.com site first, linked above, as to buffets that are presently open as plans have been regularly changing.

Conclusion

As with most of the restaurant industry, adjusting to the pandemic area has caused both massive downturns in business, and also new strategies that have enabled some popular favorites to not only return from temporary closures but thrive in doing so.

Buffets have been particularly stricken, with several closing permanently — such as Souplantation and its sister entity Sweet Tomatoes — while others such as Old Country Buffet have closed most of their individual locations and, in some instances, are in search of buyers or cash infusions as a preventative measure to shuttering entirely.

Las Vegas buffets, on the other hand, following early shutterings due to pandemic safety measures, have largely come back to big crowds.

Some, though are remaining closed.

Still, as the scourge of Covid-19 continues, regardless of the relatively recent reopenings of certain buffet restaurants, time will tell if the buffet model overall will remain viable.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA
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