Crushing it at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet is a skill that takes years of over-stuffing your face to hone. A restaurant in Chengdu, China learned the hard way that no one is more skilled in this fine art than the Chinese themselves. Jiamenar, a hot-pot restaurant in the bustling city of nearly 15 million, was forced to close its doors after only two weeks in business because customers ate too much food. A poorly laid out plan for an all-you-can-eat buffet that sent food costs through the roof and put the restaurant under.
While the buffet concept itself may not have been entirely a bad idea, it was the marketing effort that delivered the killer blow. Hoping to attract a loyal following, the restaurant allowed diners to buy a $25 all-you-can-eat card giving them unlimited access to the buffet for an entire month. Upon learning this, Chengdu residents lined up to take full advantage of the offer, forming lines in front of the restaurant each morning. After gorging themselves, the diners decided to optimize their investment even more by passing the card on to friends and family, creating utter chaos inside the dining room and sending over 500 people through the buffet line (multiple times, of course) each day.
Despite the staff being overwhelmed and the kitchen hardly able to keep up with demand, hungry diners continued to pour through the doors nonstop to take advantage of the killer deal, eventually sending the ownership over the breaking point. The opening promotion backfired horribly, and Jiamenar shut its doors with the owners over $100,000 in debt. Su Jie, a co-owner of Jiamenar, told the Chengdu Economic Daily “the uncivilised behaviour of the diners was secondary — the main problem was our poor management.”