Everyone knows how prevalent the problem of food waste is in the United States, yet few of us do anything to combat it. BuffetGo is a company that aims to eliminate food waste by giving users the opportunity to eat the leftovers from buffets every night for a cheap price. They are trying to reduce the amount of food that is being thrown out, as well as decrease food waste effects on the environment and people.
This project was intriguing, so I decided to go and try one of the many locations that have deals with BuffetGo. I began by checking their website for buffets in the area that I could pay for upfront online.
I tried Cafe Exchange in the Financial District, where I paid $3 for leftovers instead of their standard buffet price of $20, thanks to BuffetGo’s deal where everyone gets their first meal for free.
Cafe Exchange has two entrances, and they close one of the entrances after 6 p.m., when the pickup time starts. I snuck in through the nearly closed door, climbed up the stairs and saw a couple of people indulging in delicious-looking leftover buffet food. I got my plastic box and started filling it with food. Although I really wanted to get salad and fruit, I mostly got cooked food in order to be a better judge of what was usually served. You can’t really mess up lettuce and dressing right?
The meat, apparently a popular buffet pick, was all gone. However, the rice looked delicious, and with Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave” playing in the background, I took a step towards the unknown.
Here’s what I got:
Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables: Considering that it had been left out for a while, the rice was still nice and moist. It was tasty.
Asparagus and Red Onion Salad: This was the only salad I got because asparagus is amazing. The salad was actually very fresh and the asparagus was well cooked.
Onion Rings: I only got these was because I knew that leftover onion rings are usually horrible. They had a nice flavor, but they were too oily and it wasn’t as appetizing as all the other things I had to eat.
Vegetable Noodles: Although they were a little doughy and cold, they tasted just like take-out noodles and I enjoyed them.
Brussel Sprouts: Roasted brussel sprouts were delicious, but a bit undercooked.
Corn: The corn was very creamy, amazing and packed with spice and flavors.
Mashed Potatoes: They had smooth mashed potatoes which were surprisingly very good. I mixed the mashed potatoes with the corn and it made them even better.
Creamy Pasta with Bacon and Bay Leaves: The pasta was cooked well, with an abundance of bacon, and the bay leaves gave it a really great flavor. It was delicious but a little heavy.
I could have filled my plate even more, but what I had was more than enough for $3.
According to one of Cafe Exchange’s employees, the agreement the restaurant has with BuffetGo is very profitable, despite the steep discount the website provides to customers. Just by keeping Cafe Exchange open for another half an hour after closing time, they are able to earn more money and not waste the food they invested time and money in. During the week, Cafe Exchange receives numerous customers from BuffetGo.
It is crazy how much food you can get for less than the price of one slice of Artichoke Pizza. Obviously nobody should expect a gourmet meal from BuffetGo; however for $3, it is delicious, filling and a great option for students who get tired of dining hall food.
Email Yasmin Gulec at [email protected]