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Tysons Buffet, Rockville, Maryland December 29, 2010

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Cooking, Restaurants.
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Took Mom to the doctor’s to day after we had lunch at Tysons’ buffet in Rockville, Maryland.

We had to wait for 10 minutes before getting a seat. The place was packed to capacity and the line at 1 PM was almost 20 deep.

The line continued until about 1:30 PM and the entire restaurant was busy with guests young and old; men and women; Chinese, Latinos and others.

Chinese buffet restaurants, especially Tysons Buffet in Rockville,  are like black holes on the landscape of Chinese restaurants. They suck in customers from other Chinese near by restaurants. They also suck in precious revenues from them making these restaurants very difficult to operate. They rob the margins away from  near by Chinese restaurants because of ridiculously low prices and varieties of selections offered by these buffet restaurants.

In the case of Tysons Buffet, it probably takes away $650,000 from the coffers of near by Chinese restaurants every month. These buffet restaurant as a group also force other Chinese restaurants big and small to operate at paper thin margins because no one dare to raise its prices.

The mediocrity of buffet food lowers the standard of Chinese cuisine in the eyes of general public which also hurts business of Chinese restaurant every where.

People come to traditional Chinese restaurants expecting a good meal, huge quality, good value, mediocre service, broken English from wait staff, noise atmosphere and rock bottom prices. They no longer expect authentic Chinese food because some of them know that many cooks in the kitchen behind the wall are no longer 科班出身的厨师 “ke1 ban1 chu1 shen1 de1 chu2 shi1″  (Chefs with professional training” but 半路出家的二手货 “ban4lu4 chu1 jia1 de1 er4 shou3 huo4” (someone with minimum skill in Chinese cooking.) Even worse, some of them are even Latinos with only a few years of experience working in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant.

It will not be easy to reverse this trend.

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