Don’t wear skinny jeans to a Chinese buffet

After rolling out of bed at 1pm, I rounded up the troops and then drove to Norwich with Rosie, Toby and my boyfriend, Lewis. We began by going to Hollywood bowl, where I got absolutely destroyed and came a shameful last place. We then took it to the pool table where I, once again, got destroyed… Don’t be rude.

We then made a trip to Riverbank Chinese where I paid £13.99 for an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, yet my mind, the same one that had got me in Riverbank in the first place, convinced me that buying a coke to accompany my buffet would be a waste of money. So whilst I stand at the bar waiting for my tap water I notice a clipboard with the daily pay for each worker and at £6.20 an hour it makes me think. My £13.99 alone had paid for both of the waitresses working during the hour I was there. Where was the money of the other 70 odd diners going? Yet this thought was soon pushed to the side when I made my way back to the table, via 100+ Chinese dishes.

Whilst I tucked into what turned out to be an extremely mediocre, Chinese buffet, eaten from cold plates, surrounded by a lot of over excited, screaming teenagers, about to attend an under 18’s night at Wonderland, I still felt extremely satisfied.

Perhaps it was because I was a student enjoying a break from having to cook and wash up, or maybe it was the freedom I had to eat as much of whatever I liked.

Yet around 6 platefuls each later, flies being unzipped and both siblings taking a trip the toilet to “make some more space”, we couldn’t eat anymore. As usual, the system had beaten us and some very sneaky businessman’s wallet had just got a little heavier. And it’s never until after the meal, when I’m leaving the restaurant, that I decide to weigh up the pros and cons…

Realistically buffets aren’t ‘eat as much as you want’, they’re ‘eat as much as you can’. And for a 19 year old female, the size of an 11 year old, with eyes too big for her stomach, I’m just the sort of victim they want walking through their door.

To us we see a service offering us unlimited, high standard food. To everyone working in the buffet industry we’re a bunch of ignorant fools.

Having more complex dishes in a restaurant requires more ingredients, time, training and organization. Riverbank’s menu offered mainly chicken and prawns, unlike traditional Chinese food, which offers numerous amounts of different meats and fish. And I’m sure that, just like in most other business, produce is brought in bulk resulting in negotiated prices.

Another thing I noticed was the food had already been prepared into dice sized portions, which I had to eat from my tiny plates and tiny bowls, creating very small portions, meaning less waste and less paid workers washing up.

Additionally, almost every time I returned to my seat my glass had been filled up by a waitress of fresh tap water, how kind I thought… Until a few glasses later I’d realised how quickly it was filling me up.

As a result I ate a very average amount of food, for the price of about 10 platefuls. So well done Riverbank, once again you mugged me and my family off… Yet I’m sure I’ll see you again soon



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