What is the quality of the food at Golden Corral?

5 minute read | Published: March 09, 2024

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If you’ve never been to Golden Corral and you’re wondering if the food there is any good, let me tell you right now that it is! It’s basically a buffet that costs $11 to $17 per person, and for such a low price, you get access to 150 dishes.

Now in terms of the quality of the food adult at Golden Corral, I think many would agree that it’s more than decent. Just like any restaurant, there are dishes that are tasty, and then there are dishes you’d probably never eat again. Their dinner rolls, steak, fried chicken, fries and desserts in particular are crowd favorites – I know some people who would actually go to GC just for those things!

Golden Corral food quality

Still not convinced? Let me share with you some insights that can help you decide whether the food at Golden Corral is worth a try.

Is an AYCE Buffet Worth It?

When it comes to stretching your food budget, hitting up an all-you-can-eat (AYCE) buffet might seem like a genius move. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of paying a flat rate for unlimited food?

But before you dive headfirst into that sea of endless eats, let’s take a closer look at whether AYCE buffets are really worth your hard-earned cash.

On the one hand, proponents argue that with the right strategy, you can get your money’s worth and then some. Some regulars at Golden Corral swear by the power of planning. If you know how to navigate the buffet and load up your plate strategically, you can definitely make the most of your money.

Golden Corral food quality 2

Then there’s the question of value. Sure, shelling out $10 to $20 for a buffet meal might seem like a steal – but only if the food hits the mark. After all, what good is a bargain if the food tastes like cardboard?

The key is finding a buffet that offers both delicious fare and affordability, catering to your personal tastes and budget.

How the Golden Corral Buffet Works

Since you’ve never been to GC, let me just take a minute to walk you through the process. When you arrive at the restaurant, you need to grab a drink and then head to the cashier to pay. Refills are free, but if you want a huge plastic cup, you’ll have to pay for it. If you go during busy hours like 7PM, there might be a line. Anyway after paying, you can then proceed to the buffet area.

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Whether you’re visiting for lunch or dinner, you’ll find that the all-you-can-eat plate at Golden Corral gives you plenty of bang for your buck. Despite the generous portions, the cost of a meal here can be even less than what you’d pay for a single entree at other restaurants.

Plus, if you’re a fan of hearty, home-cooked flavors, this is the place to go. Golden Corral takes pride in their dishes like their 12-hour cooked pot roast and breaded chicken.

Families on a budget will especially appreciate the value offered at Golden Corral. With discounted meals for seniors during lunch and occasional promotions on kids’ meals, there’s something for everyone here especially those who don’t want to spend an arm and leg for a good meal. And for the littlest diners aged 3 and under, most GC locations even offer free meals!

When to Visit Golden Corral

The answer would depend on what it is you’re hoping to achieve. If you want to know the cheapest time to eat at GC, that would be lunch hours from 10:45 AM to 4:00 PM. Most locations only charge $11.49 for one adult on weekdays during these hours.

However, there are dishes in the dinner menu that aren’t available for lunch. For example, the sirloin steaks, carving station and bone-in turkey are served during dinner service only. So if your goal is to eat a ton of premium meats, then your best bet is to go after 4:00 PM. You’ll pay a few dollars more but you’ll get better food choices for sure.

On the other hand, if you go there around 2:00 PM, food may have been sitting for quite a long time, and they won’t taste as good. So if you’re after quality food, don’t go around 2:00 PM to 3:30 P.M.

What Not to Eat in an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Here’s a list of food items you should skip at the buffet line:

Potato-based dishes

Potato-based dishes are often right at the start of the buffet line because they’re cheap and filling. But loading up on fries or mashed potatoes might leave you too full for the good stuff.


Sushi might seem like a light and healthy choice, but at a buffet it could spell trouble. Raw fish can harbor bacteria, especially when it’s been sitting out for a while.

Sweet and sour dishes

Those sticky sweet and sour chicken pieces might be tempting, but they’re loaded with sugar and fat. One serving could set you back over 1,500 calories! If you’re trying to make healthier choices, skip those.


The more soda you drink, the less room you’ll have for tasty buffet dishes. Stick to water or unsweetened drinks like hot tea to save room for the dishes that are actually worth your tummy space.

Chicken and egg salads

Chicken salads are breeding ground for bacteria. Moisture from the salad combined with proteins creates the perfect environment for nasty bugs to grow. If you’re craving greens, maybe go for fresh salad without those thick dressings.


Oysters might be a fancy buffet treat, but they also carry a risk of food poisoning. Raw oysters can harbor harmful bacteria that could leave you feeling sick. It’s best to skip the shellfish and stick to safer seafood options.

Condiments from trays

Shared condiment trays might seem convenient, but they’re also a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s best to stick to individual packets or contactless dispensers to avoid contamination.

Customers’ Golden Corral Experience

I’ve read many Golden Corral reviews online. Here are some of them:


Plenty of choice of tasty items at a cheap price

You know what you are getting at a Golden Corral – cheap food and plenty of it. It might not be the best quality, but then it was $14.99 each for eat all you can at dinner. Hubby also had a diet coke ($2.79). Service was fine – cleared our table regularly and made sure we had what we needed. It could be cleaner and nicer inside, but again, you know what you are getting at this type of place.


Huge variety and decent quality

Went to the Golden Corral for breakfast and was blown away by the huge variety of food you could get there.

Not ashamed to say I ate pretty much my own bodyweight in food 😂😊 particularly liked the biscuits and gravy, which was my first time trying this American staple.

Big props to our server China who was super helpful and kept the coffee flowing 👍


Terrible low quality food

Now I know why that comedian does the commercials ! If you like to eat at the Golden Corral…….you might be a R N !!!

LOTS of selections and all are low quality with bottom level ingredients and cooked in the worst way.

Will never come back

Steve H

This is a Hit you do do not wanna Miss!

One of the things we love about this Golden Corral is the quality of its food, cleanliness and friendliness of its staff. You read a lot about whether a GC is a hit or a miss…well this is a Hit you will NOT wanna Miss!

Food is always refilled. Hot. Tasty. Not reheated over and over. The restaurant is clean. Buffets are clean. Tables are kept clean. Ice Cream bar is clean. Dessert table well stocked.

Golden Corral food quality

Preparing for Your First Visit to Golden Corral

As you can see from the reviews, people have mixed perceptions of Golden Corral. I really think the food quality depends on which GC location you go to and what time you’re there. Overall, you’re getting more bang for your buck at this buffet restaurant. Food quality is similar, if not better, to other popular AYCE buffet chains in the US. Plus, you get a lot of variety in the buffet spread.

True to their tagline, there’s definitely “something for everyone at Golden Corral.”

Category: Customer Experience