The Ultimate Guide To Golden Corral - The Daily Meal (2024)

Restaurants Buffet Style Restaurants Golden Corral

The Ultimate Guide To Golden Corral - The Daily Meal (1)

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ByD.G. Sciortino|

With so many options at our fingertips, deciding what we want to eat can be difficult. Sometimes, we just want to have it all. At Golden Corral, we can. The all-you-can-eat buffet chain, however, might not be for everyone. Some even turn their nose up at the excess it offers and resolve to avoid the restaurant at all costs. But for the rest of us, Golden Corral holds a special place in our hungry hearts.

Is it fine dining? No. But we are aware of this. When we step through the doors of a Golden Corral, we no longer care. What we want is variety, and withdozens of menu options tochoose from, the buffet chain excels in this department.

That's why Golden Corral's most loyal customers are said to visit the chain an average of70 times per year. If you've never been to one of the buffet chain's locations, let us introduce you. Here is the ultimate guide to Golden Corral.

The first location opened as a steakhouse

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When most of us think of Golden Corral, we think of each restaurant's large interior. But the all-you-can-eat chain didn't start with the11,000-square-foot spaces we know today.The first location opened in 1973 as a steakhouse in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Over the next decade, Golden Corral went on to open new restaurants in Virginia and Texas.

Around the 1980s, the chain had become popular. To expand on this growth, Golden Corral introduced the buffet model in an attempt to bring in more people. These days the chain's menuincludessirloin steak, soups, pizza, dessert, and even seasonal items.

One item Golden Corral is most proud of is its yeast rolls, which are meant to be served hot.You can eat them and everything else at the chain until you can't fit anything else in your belly.You can even find tons of copycat recipes for Golden Corral's yeast rolls online.

The restaurant offers some serious bang for your buck

While prices vary at different locations, you still get an incredible deal at every Golden Corral restaurant. Customers even rank the restaurant among the top 10 American chains offering you the best bang for your buck, according to a survey by Nation's Restaurant News.

The cost for an all-you-can-eat plate at Golden Corral will get you pounds of food. Yet this price can be less than the cost of a typical entree at other restaurants. The lunch menu is especially affordable. If you're a fan of quantity and home-cooked quality, this is the spot for you. The chain cooks their pot roast for 12 hoursand breads its chicken. At some locations, seniors can get discounted meals during lunch.In the past, the chain has offered promotions where the cost of kids' meals is reduced.At some locations, children aged 3 and younger have been allowed to eat for free. This isincredible value for families on a budget.

You can stick to low-calorie foods at Golden Corral

While Golden Corral may traditionally be associated with decadence, you can still eat healthy there. Even if you're not on a specific diet and just counting calories, this buffet still has your back. There are plenty of hearty, low-calorie options.

A half cup of pot roast is just 150 calories, a bacon-wrapped sirloin filet is 190, and 3 oz. of bone-in catfish is 210.You can pair those proteins with a variety of veggies that run from 30 to 350 calories per serving. You can also have yourself some dessert for under 350 calories as long as you steer clear of the puddings and brownies.

For those looking to consume fewer calories at Golden Corral, you can simply stick to these lighter food options. Select a low-calorie entree, a low-fat dairy option, fruit, and fill the rest of your plate with steamed vegetables.

The chain has options for those with dietary restrictions

Golden Corral has something for everyone. Even those with dietary restrictions. Not only can the restaurant chain accommodate vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians, but the all-you-can-eat buffet also hasdiet-specific options. You can still stay on track while dining at the buffet chain whether you're on Atkins, Weight Watchers, Keto, Mediterranean, DASH, MIND, Paleo, or Jenny Craig.

One page on Golden Corral's website has a drop-down menu where you can look up the nutritional information on every single food item at the buffet. It's separated by food types like beef, seafood, breakfast, salad, sauces, beverages, and more. This should help you navigate which items work with your diet. You can also type in the food you are looking to know more about in the search bar.

Those who have serious food allergies should be cautious when eating at this chain. Rather than avoiding certain foods at Golden Corral, we recommend referring any questions to the restaurant manager before dining. Buffet items are constantly changing. They may also contain common allergens like shellfish, gluten, tree nuts, or dairy. Because Golden Corral is a buffet, the chain can't as easily prevent cross-contamination between foods.

Golden Corral serves breakfast

Many are aware of Golden Corral's infinite options for lunch and dinner, but did you know that it also serves piping-hot mealsin the morning? If not, your endless breakfast dreams have just come true. However, many locationsare only open for the first meal of the day on the weekends. Opening times vary by franchise. At some locations, breakfast can start as late as 11 a.m. Certain restaurants forgo breakfast and instead serve brunch.Once you discover your nearby location's hours, we recommend arriving early to get there before Golden Corral stops serving breakfast.

Golden Corral's breakfast menusounds mouthwatering. It contains items like cinnamon rolls, donuts, fruit-topped pancakes, corned beef hash, and omelets. Beverages include milk, orange juice, and many more. One customer raved about the breakfast at a Texas location of Golden Corral."Today I tried the breakfast buffet at Golden Corral for the first time and let me just say this: I no longer will have any trouble deciding where I want to go and have breakfast again," they wroteon Review Stream.

The atmosphere isn't always calm

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Though Golden Corral advertises itself as a restaurant perfect for families dining out, locations don't always have the calmest atmosphere. Large fights have broken out at different locations over the years.

NBC 12 reports that in February 2022, around 40 people were involved in a mass fight that broke out at a Bensalem, Pennsylvania location of Golden Corral. A steak shortage may have triggered the fight, according to the outlet. Two different parties of customers were initially upset, but their outrage appeared to spread throughout the restaurant. Per NBC, people threw chairs and hit one another during the incident. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.

Earlier, in 2019, another fight was reported at a Brooklyn, Ohio location of Golden Corral (via FOX 8). The argument was said to involve around 15 people. Witnesses told the outlet that the rumble moved from one end of the restaurant, to the lobby, and then back toward the other side of the restaurant. However, this type of fight doesn't seem limited to Golden Corral. We've seen buffet customers brawl over crab legs before.

There is more to the buffet chain than in-person dining

Have you ever wanted to eat Golden Corral from the comfort of your home? Or have you ever wished that the chain would be the exclusive caterer of your next get-together? Well, wish no more because the company offers bothto-go options and catering. There are three to-go options at Golden Corral.

You can order food online via the company's website or app. Your order can be picked up or delivered through apps like DoorDash. Unfortunately, you won't be getting the same value that's afforded by dining in person at Golden Corral's all-you-can-eat buffet. By ordering through a website, you'll have to pay forindividual meals or dishes.However, you can still get some of your favorite menu items from Golden Corral when ordering takeout. Pancakes,pizza, sides, and desserts are all offered through the chain's to-go menu.

Catering platters are available for pickup or delivery. One platter, dubbed the Bourbon Street Chicken, comes with rice and serves 10 people. Other available catering sides include macaroni and cheese, tuna salad, and steamed carrots. If you're picking up, you can park in one of Golden Corral's designated spots and have the staff deliver your order to your car. If you have your heart set on eating a variety of items, you can still enjoy the buffet by stopping by the restaurant to fill a to-go container and pay by the pound.

The company has stayed strong during challenging times

A lot has happened in the 50 years that America's favorite buffet has been in business. Yet the chain has been able to stay relevant. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Golden Corral reinvented itself through a makeover of many of its franchises. In 2019, the chain updated several restaurants with newer, more contemporary-looking decorations. This included the implementation of stone-faced storefronts, fireplaces, and wood ceilings.

Some feared that buffet-style restaurants would die off after the pandemic. Golden Corral was one of the many chains to suffer during this time. According to FSR Magazine, the company was forced to close 124 restaurants between 2020 and 2021.Then, Golden Corral began to bounce back. Closed locations started to reopen. Sales at certain restaurants returned to pre-pandemic levels.Some credit the chain's comeback to Golden Corral's budget-friendly pricing. This may be more attractive to the many customers experiencing the harsh realities of current inflation.

Golden Corral has new restaurant concepts in the works

Golden Corral isn't finished growing. It's undergoing some major changes it hopes will position the company for future success. One of these changes will take the chain back to its roots.

According to the Triangle Business Journal,Golden Corral has plans to open a steakhouse, as well as a few fast-casual restaurants. These new businesses are a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are meant to diversify the types of restaurants that Golden Corral has to offer.

Restaurant Businessreports that the fast-casual concept will be called Golden Corral's Homestyle Kitchen.Each new restaurant will be approximately 3,000 square feet in size, which is a lot smaller than the typical 10,000-square-foot buffet spaces that the company currently operates. But this still sounds like good news to us. You'll be able to get your buffet favorites like pot roast and fried chicken via counter service or at the Homestyle Kitchen's planned drive-thrus.

You can rent out a private room to host an event

When throwing a party, we want to be surrounded by loved ones in a place where we could all have a great time. If your favorite place is Golden Corral and your family and friends love a good buffet, then you might want to consider choosing the chain for your next party. Doing so might even save you a few bucks. Reserving Golden Corral'sprivate dining roomfor an event is free.

This dining room could be the perfect venue for several events. You can reserve Golden Corral's private room for your next birthday party, bridal shower, team sports gathering, graduation, or corporate event. To book, you'll have to reach out to the management at the specific location where you are trying to reserve the room. The company asks that you reach out at least seven days before your event. The management team is required to confirm the appointment before your reservation can be guaranteed.

Customers can participate in rewards programs

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This all-you-can-eat buffet chain doesn't just offer unlimited food for great prices. It also rewards its frequent customers. By joining Golden Corral Rewards, you'll be treated to special discounts and exclusive deals by earning points every time you dine. Just download the company's app and enter your receipt code. You can also ask the cashier to scan your app at the register. You get one point for every dollar you spend. Accumulate 100 points and you will receive a $10 off coupon. You can also earn $5 off of a purchase of $25 or more when you first join Golden Corral Rewards.

Another Golden Corral program, the Good as Gold Club, offers even more discounts. When you sign up for this email newsletter you'll be eligible for a free drink. Golden Corral will then send youcoupons, a special welcome surprise, and a birthday gift directly to your inbox. You will also receive emails concerning new menu items and other Golden Corral news.

Golden Corral gives back

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Golden Corral likes to pay it forward.The company has three separate charitable endeavors. One is called Camp Corral. This free week-long camp experience is offered by the chain to children of military service men and women who are sick, injured, wounded, or have died in battle. Campers enjoy horseback riding, water sports, and other activities that help them to gain confidence and resilience. The buffet chain has raised more than $13 million to send over 30,000 children to the camp.

Golden Corral also hosts an annual Military Appreciation Night where service men and women are treated to a free meal. More than 6 million meals have been served to active and former military members. The chain and its customers have also contributed $17.5 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization over the last two decades.

Golden Corral also takes care of its employees through itsGC Cares Fund.This charitable endeavor helps employees overcome financial hardships or emergencies. This includes helping employees who are experiencing struggles due to natural disasters or prolonged illnesses. The fund offers swift financial assistance to prevent homelessness, assist with necessities like food and utilities, and assist with funeral expenses.

The Ultimate Guide To Golden Corral - The Daily Meal (2024)
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