In practically unthinkable news, a restaurant chain known for buffet-style dining has ditched the buffet: Furr's, the San Antonio-based chain, is reopening as Furr's AYCE Marketplace, with a new model: table-side service.
AYCE — which stands for "all you can eat" — has launched in 11 locations, including one in Arlington, at 300 E. Interstate 20, along with a location in Dallas at 6465 Samuel Blvd., and one in Garland, at 1540 Eastgate Dr.
Under the new model, you can still theoretically get the all-you-can-eat feast you'd get at a buffet, but diners will be served at their table, rather than serving themselves.
"Long gone are the days of the traditional buffet-style restaurant," their site says. "We are proud to offer you a new, safer, and more enjoyable way to dine with us." Actually, it's not so long gone, is it?
Here's a question: Would you pig out as much if your multiple helpings were being delivered by another possibly judgy person? Having a third party who witnesses your multiple servings might make you think twice. Which is a good thing. There is always a lot of waste at buffets.
The Marketplace will also incorporate a shopping component, featuring:
- packaged hot and chilled foods to-go
- pre-cooked and cooked bulk sides and meals
- dry goods such as milk, vegetables, and other grocery essentials
Marketing manager Misty Moren says in a statement that a shift was required to address the pandemic.
"As people are more conscious of their trips outside of their homes, we've developed a one-stop-shop for them to pick up delicious hot or cold meals plus other goods they may need and use in their kitchens," she says. "These shifts allow us to maintain our commitment to convenience and innovation while also offering our employees an opportunity to return to work."
"Our priority is to protect our guests and our team members, while still being able to offer the top-notch service and food that our guests expect," she says.
They've also launched TogoKitchens.com, a new concept offering takeout and delivery to areas across the country from Furr's and its sibling concepts, including Zio’s Italian Kitchen, Sushi Zushi, Tahoe Joe’s, Hops Wings & Burger Bar, and Don Pablo’s Cantina.
"Adding TogoKitchens.com is just another way for guests to enjoy our food, even if it may have never been available in their area previously, from the comfort of their own home," Maren says.
Furr's, which was founded in 1946, has a total of 16 locations; the remaining five are still closed, but will join the AYCE Marketplace model in the coming weeks.