At many chinese buffets you get an extraordinary value for the money ... especially if you go for the lunch buffet, but dinner as well. Of course there are some bad buffets with poor food and lack of selection, but mostly in my area they give a great value and good quality food. Most also have a sushi section and a "mongolian barbque" type counter as well.
So how do they do it ?? ... giving that value for that price?
They have "chinese labor", that's how.
The servers *might* be making $3 or so bucks ... but I know as a fact that many do not because part of their compensation can be things like passage to the U.S., housing and other support ... they were brought over by people associated with the restaurant - they don't speak the language ... and those servers often have little pocket money.
They are in a chinese business which is run very differently from an above-board western/American business.
The restaurant charges comparatively low prices for the food ... they make it up by not paying much to the workers ... the workers (servers at least) get compensated by you.
I know this first hand. We bought a large chinese restaurant and converted it to a Bistro/Pub a number of years ago and I know just how poor those workers were. Many were in fact sleeping upstairs at the restaurant on mats in what would have been a second floor banquet room. Long story.
As well, unrelated to the Bistro, my partner's wife's family was in fact chinese and had a separate chinese restaurant of their own.
It really is a different culture.
Like I say, chinese business.
In any regard, I don't mind tipping a buck ... and I judge the overall value against the overall cost ... still a great deal.
<message edited by Sonny Funzio on Sat, 06/1/13 12:12 AM>