DOLLARS AND SENSE
Go at off-hours to avoid long lines, like late weekday mornings and early afternoons. Avoid holidays and weekends. Also, see if your buffet takes reservations.
Make use of your loyalty card to get discounts and line passes. Also, loyalty card holders might receive occasional buffet coupons, so don’t forget to check your mail.
Check discount websites such as Groupon to see if discounts are available. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
Inquire about locals’ discounts. The Rio’s Carnival World Buffet, for example, offers free entry during a Nevadan’s birth month (caveat: the discount only applies to your meal).
Try an all-day pass. Caesars Entertainment offers the most Vegas of day passes, the Buffet of Buffets. For as low as $60, diners have 24 hours to eat at up to five buffets.
Bring a few extra dollars to tip the chef who makes your omelet to order. And don’t forget to tip the staffers who refill your drinks and clear your plates. Just because you ate like a beast doesn’t mean you should act like one.
Survey the scene. When you first arrive inside, take a moment to make note of everything that lies before you. We suggest spinning around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, as you mentally plan your impending food assault.
Start with small portions. Bacchanal Executive Chef Leticia Nunez likes to say, “Take small bites; it’s a big buffet.” Starting small allows for maximum variety and prevents overeating and waste. If you love an item, you can always return for seconds … or thirds.
Avoid filler foods. A smart buffeter usually skips breads, carbs and the like.
Don’t go in traditional meal order (bread, salad, soup, main course, dessert). You’ll fill up too fast. Eat high-dollar foods first: seafood, meats, exotic cheeses and fancy fruits.
Get experimental. For your second plate, try some foods you don’t normally consume.
Do it up for dessert. If you still have room at this point, all bets are off. Just go for it! One fun game: Invent your own sweet creation by combining different items.
Call first. Author and Vegans, Baby website founder Diana Edelman recommends contacting a buffet in advance if you have dietary restrictions. Since buffets often rotate their menus, this will help you get the most up-to-date info on what foods will or won’t be available.
Work with the staff. Edelman suggests letting the buffet host know if you’re vegan (or have a different dietary need) when you arrive. She emphasizes the importance of communicate, because some foods might not be marked. “If you’re unsure about items, ask for a chef to walk you through,” she says.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to inquire about food preparations or cross-contamination, Edelman says.