Definitive Ranking of the Most Popular Chain Restaurant Buffets

For all of our indecisive eaters out there, you know that a good buffet is a foodie's playground.

Rather than committing to a single order, the restaurant becomes your oyster for your taste buds to explore. We, too, are major fans of buffet-style eating for this very reason. Why try one dish when you could experience an endless array?

Souplantation spread

(via Souplantation)

If you're all about selection, continue reading for our definitive ranking of the best chain buffets of all time:

8. Cicis

Cicis (the buffet formerly known as Cici's Pizza) provides a one-stop-shop for our absolute favorite dish: pizza. While we could gobble up slice after slice until we literally can't stand anymore, this buffet ranks surprisingly low on our list. If this order has you scratching your heads, consider this, does average pizza really need to be served buffet style? Speaking practically, the salad bar is really the only section of the restaurant that requires a self-serve selection, as well as an all-you-can-eat challenge option. Despite a few unusual slices such as Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Chicken and their Bavarian Dessert pizza pie, the final verdict falls into, yes we love this buffet, but is it really necessary? Additionally, we must admit the food quality here is subpar.


7. Shoney's

This Southern buffet definitely doesn't disappoint… unless you're located, like us, far away from the nearest franchise. While the establishment promises an all-you-care-to-eat buffet, we're feeling a little limited on the options provided. While we're usually ones for a theme, we just can't get on board with their daily buffet mix-up. Thursday nights are known as All-You-Care-to-Eat Ribs night while Sundays are reserved for Southern Style Favorites. TBH, the daily themed menus make us feel like we're dining in an elementary school cafeteria.

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6. Souplantation

Souplantation, also known as Sweet Tomatoes, was likely your introduction to buffet eating. Being your first buffet, this establishment will forever hold a special place in your heart. That said, the quality of the food here isn't at the same standard as some other popular chain buffets. But while the quality may be lacking, the possibilities are endless. Because of the lower standards at this joint, you never need to fear getting creative with your food by hacking the menu (i.e. using soups as pasta sauces, making ice cream sandwiches with muffins and adding bacon bits to your vanilla soft serve). Ahh yes, Souplantation was a place to let your childhood wings spread wide.


5. HomeTown Buffet

Also known as Old Country Buffet, this joint put up a good fight. The selection is top-notch and the menus take you from breakfast through dinner, and of course, you have to leave room for dessert. Honestly, the only reason this buffet hasn't snagged a higher rank is because taste-tests agree that this food is just slightly lacking. While we'll always rely on you for some creamy mashed potatoes and crispy fried chicken, we're sorry to say that you aren't exactly first in our hearts. But we're still grabbing a table anytime we're in the mood to pile our plates high with some good, comforting American food.


4. Shakey's Pizza

Where Cicis may have failed, Shakey's definitely delivers (yes, literally and metaphorically). You'll want to hit up this pizza joint for their buffet as they boast a surplus of interesting menu options. With a spread like this, you need to try each and every slice. From their Rustic Garlic Chicken to their Shakey's Special, their pizza pies are just the beginning. This joint also serves up signature sides such as their Famous Mojo Potatoes, golden fried chicken and impressive salad bar. If your mouth isn't watering by this description, you just can't call yourself a pizza lover.


3. Marie Callender's

Marie Callender's may have the best food of any buffet on this list, but it also has a major drawback. While we would happily binge our hearts out on this buffet all day long, we're limited to a weekend brunch. Because this restaurant operates in a typical fashion as well as serving a buffet, the quality of the food is right on up there with any other chain. Of course, we can't deny that extensive salad bar that keeps us coming throughout the week. Hello, fresh! However, we have to ding it quite a few notches (well, two to be exact) since a special Sunday trip is required to get our fingers on that coveted breakfast buffet. That said, wake us up when Sunday comes.


2. Sizzler

When people think buffet, they think Sizzler. We may come for the extraordinary salad bar but we definitely stay for the extensive menu. Sizzler is basically the crowd-pleaser of buffets because it has something for everyone. If we must complain about one little factor, it would definitely have to be the price. While the food quality only seems to be getting better over the years, the unfortunate side effect is that the prices are also raising. Disappointing, Sizzler! How are we supposed to indulge in you with our measly allowance!? But then again… how can we deny your mouthwatering steaks and endless seafood platters. *wipes drool from chin*


1. Golden Corral

The variety alone is enough to make this chain buffet come in at No. 1, but it certainly isn't the only factor making this guy the winner, winner chicken dinner. You just can't go wrong with Golden Corral. Let's start with the Apple Spice Coffee Cake and work our way up from there… like the BBQ pork flatbreads. Omg we have to stop or we're going to drool all over the place. Moral of the (mouthwatering) story, Golden Corral gets top marks in food, service and price. Whether you're in the mood for a fresh salad or a savory meal, this buffet has everything you could possibly want and more. Always more.

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Picky eaters tend to be huge fans of buffets because they can curate their meal exactly the way they want it. If you fall into this foodie category, click HERE for 11 relatable truths.