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An alternate approach to the Indian Buffet

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When you think of Indian food, the first thing that comes to most people's mind is the buffet. People love the Indian buffet because they get to eat till to their heart's content. As a diabetic, buffets are something I try and avoid but its often hard to avoid them, because your friends and family members like to enjoy a good buffet. Also, many restaurants sometimes do not offer you food from their regular menu when they serve buffets. Its a dilemma that I often face.  In general, buffets are a problem for the following situations and reasons

  • Diabetics - If you are a diabetic like me, or have family members who have diabetes, you know that diabetics have to control their portions. The buffet is not the right place for that. Its like taking an recovering alcoholic to a pub for a celebration. Most buffets are priced with the expectations that their patrons will probably eat at least 2-3 rounds. If you are a disciplined diabetic, you will probably eat much less than what you paid for.
  • Individuals on a diet -  While you may not be diabetic, you may be pre-diabetic or on a weight loss program and again buffets are not the place to be. 
  • Wastage of Food - Buffets encourage people to waste food. If you don't like it, ditch it (for fans of the movie Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron - "Thoda Khao, Thoda Phenko"). I have seen many plates go to the trash can with the food having been barely eaten. For a country with a high poverty level, its a criminal waste to throw away such food. 

Can something be done to perhaps change the way the buffet system works in India? Perhaps...This is a thought from how food is served in my office cafeteria. A lot of the food such as salads and pastas are served by weight. You pick what you want on your plate, they weigh it and you pay by the ounce. The maximum price you pay per plate is capped, so if you take more, you don't have to pay extra for it. It works great for someone like me as I need to control my portions. Perhaps with a little help from technology, we could be take this concept to the buffets. Patrons will be provided bar codes when we opt for the buffet. Every time they go for a helping, their plates are weighed and go against the bar code. The patron know where they stand every time they refill. The restaurant can keep a couple of pricing options at 60%, 75% and 100% of the buffet value so people can decide what band they want to eat at. For those who want to go flat out, they can and for those who want to be more careful also have an option. 

It may sound crazy and we wanted to see what our readers think of this. Thoughts welcome. Please leave your comments below.  



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