I really love Chinese Buffets. And it is not just the fact that you get to stuff your face (something I enjoy doing very much). It’s also the no waiting (you start eating right after you sit down), the variety (it’s the spice of life!) and of course, the competition. That’s right… the competition. You vs. the Buffet. The price is really just a dare. A sign that says “All-U-Can-Eat for $14.50″, might as well just say “I dare you to eat more than $14.50 worth of food. Signed - The Buffet.”
Basically, your goal from the moment you walk into the buffet should be “Win the Game”. And the game is to eat so much food that the restaurant loses money. You want to eat so much that when they see you come back the next time, they get scared. You want them to worry that if you eat at their buffet too often, they might have to close it down. But before you can learn how to beat your enemy, you must KNOW your enemy.
I try not to stuff myself too full these days—no competitive eating for me—but Zach's third tip is good advice for any buffet situation, whether it's a bargain Chinese place, a sitdown picnic or at a fancy wedding.