Old Country Buffet

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Old Country Buffet Has Stepped-Up Their Game
Posted by on
Rating: 4/51
ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO -- Let me start by saying we have a Golden Corral and Old Country Buffet within a short driving distance from where we live. I’ve already written a review of Golden Corral, which sadly to say was not a pleasant experience.

When my kids were younger we used to visit Old Country Buffet but steadily became less and less impressed with the food and service provided. So, for a few years we simply quit going there. Fast forward to 2013 and my kids now have kids of their own and we recently visited Old Country Buffet once again. The difference between what I remember some time ago and now is absolutely striking.

The entire restaurant has been remodeled on the inside since I was there last time and is now open, airy and well lit. The staff was friendly and very helpful.

The hot food is indeed hot, which some years ago was not always the case. For health reasons it’s important to keep hot food at a certain temperature and I’m happy to say that seems to be the case now. All the food was presented in a visually pleasant manner, which got the hunger pangs going. Food was replenished quickly by employees with plastic gloves for cleanliness. Serving spoons were changed as needed, which is something I quickly notice in any restaurant/buffet. There constantly seemed to be employees cleaning, which is important to an enjoyable dining experience.

The cold foods were kept nice and cool on beds of ice in an visually appetizing manner. There seems to be a couple of new salad items added to the line-up, which was nice to see.

Oh, then came the deserts. There are definitely new desert choices to choose from, which makes picking only one or two virtually impossible. One thing I notice with the cake and pie choices was a full size cake or pie was presented along with the individual items. It just seemed to add to the whole desert atmosphere. In the end I somehow managed to make a choice and was very pleased with the taste.

There are the old favorites to choose from in the drinks department, along with some new items. I was definitely impressed with the choices and presentation.

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised with everything Old Country Buffet has done and added to their menu line-up. If the NEW Old Country Buffet continues with their new food items and improved service we will most certainly be back. For now though I’m only giving them 4 stars out of a possible five, the future will tell where this is bumped up or not.
     
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Sweltering, possibly unhealthy conditions on Fathers' Day - terrible customer "service"
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BENSALEM, PENNSYLVANIA -- I am writing this on behalf of my good friend who does not have online access. My friend (a senior citizen with a heart condition) & mutual friends (total of 9 in their party) went to this restaurant for Fathers Day dinner 6/20/2010. One of the food servers was sweltering as she was clearing the table. The air conditioning did not appear to be working & salad bar food was all warm. Their discomfort was not alleviated even when moving to another table. Management was deaf to their complaints about the lack of air conditioning, claiming they could not alter the setting without checking with corporate headquarters. When it was apparent my friend had difficulty breathing, he was offered a refund - but everyone one else felt uncomfortable as well - this was on a day during a heat wave of high heat & humidity. It took a series of much vigorous complaining for the entire party to get a refund - no one felt comfortable enough to eat. (Management claimed they could not issue a refund without receipts - which they would have tossed from the tables when the party switched seats - they only did so when confronted with one of the party's debit card receipts; she had paid for 7 of the 9 persons).
This morning, my friend collapsed from apparent dehydration and had to go to the emergency room at Jeanes Hospital - probably what had happened Sunday night had contributed to this episode.

Due to the substandard operating conditions that day, they apparently were more interested in making a buck at the expense of the staff and any unwary patrons, who were trying to celebrate Fathers' Day by having a nice meal. In my opinion, this establishment should be investigated by the Department of Health and OSHA for unsafe conditions.

You can be sure that it will be a cold day in Hades (no pun intended even though the conditions sounded like a training ground for Hades) before I or my friends will patronize this establishment without drastic remedial actions are taken by this restaurant.
     
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Ytropious on 2010-06-23:
Not buying it either, clutzy. Dehydration works FAST. If they were dehydrated from OCB they would have collapsed...at OCB. Don't blame them for something that happened 2 days later. And it's true, most places can't alter temp without corporate approval. It has to do with cost control. Were you maybe overdressed? Were other customers complaining too? If you were the only ones too hot, well it's a personal issue then, not a store issue.
Anonymous on 2010-06-23:
And here's the reason why you should not eat at a plastic corporate restaurant. The front line people are so incompetent that even the manager can't be trusted to adjust the thermostat. That's just beyond stupid.

That's why unless roped into it I never eat at corporate restaurants. Eat at a locally owned and operated joint. You'll get better food, better service, it's better for your local community and the guy running the joint can execute the tough decisions like turning down the thermostat when the joint gets to hot. VALID COMPLAINT

Excellent review!
spiderman2 on 2010-06-23:
If I walked into a place on a hot day that had little or no air conditioning, I wouldn't even bother staying! Common sense!!
MRM on 2010-06-23:
It sure was hot, hot, hot, on Father's Day!
MRM on 2010-06-23:
Right now it is 95 in Norfolk,VA. Tomorrow the mercury will rise to 100! Whoa nelly!
Anonymous on 2010-06-23:
HOT!
Ytropious on 2010-06-24:
OMG not again Stew. Some companies would rather have an iron grip on the thermostat to control costs rather than let the manager make a judgment call. How does that make the MANAGER incompetent? Geeze, it seems like you have such prejudice against anyone in the service industry. Contrary to popular belief, we aren't a bunch of knuckle draggers. I bet plenty of them have more intelligence then you. You don't have to be stupid to follow the rules set in place to keep your job.
PepperElf on 2010-06-24:
and to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if the corporation had an iron grip on the thermostat

I mean OCB is not what I'd consider to be a 5-star establishment. I wouldn't be surprised if the company was doing stuff like that to cut costs.


I know that when I worked at little ceasers as a teen they had installed a lock on the thermostat so that employees couldn't turn it down too low. the corporation claimed that people were turning it down so low the components would freeze... but I'm pretty sure they just didn't want to pay the higher electric bill.

though... what the corporation didn't know was that the man who installed the lock, showed the staff how to take it off too. *evil grin*

of course that was 1990s technology. these days I'm sure corporations have locks that are harder to disable.
Ytropious on 2010-06-24:
Exactly Pep. Where I currently work we can't change the thermostat, and when I worked for a kids chain restaurant a long time ago we always got customers asking for us to either turn it up or turn it down, and we honestly couldn't, and guess what? My HUSBAND was the manager they were asking. He isn't stupid or incompetent and would have loved to adjust the thermostat, but the company would rather have it their way.
Jean Cox on 2011-07-01:
Why does all the meats have to have garlic and overly spiced, as well as over baked fish, the later being tough to chew?.
DonKemp on 2011-07-29:
Federal law requires that the air temps be between 68 and 72 degrees. It's possible that the conditions at OCB contributed to your friend's dehydration
biomajor on 2011-07-29:
it's actually 68-76 degrees. It's OSHA laws :)
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Uncooked Chicken
Posted by on
GREENFIELD, WISCONSIN -- This pertains to the Old Country Buffet restaurant at 4902 S. 74th Street in Greenfield, Wisconsin. I have eaten there frequently over the years, at least once or twice monthly. Several times I have had complaints about the food being room temp or even undercooked, and I always have to deal with at least 2 or 3 employees and managers before I finally reach someone who is professional and addresses my complaint. It is clear to me that they are trained to discourage complaints by making the complaint process as uncomfortable as possible for the customer.

This time the fried chicken was a pinkish grey throughout most of the meat, and it was rubbery. I don't eat the skin or breading, so it wasn't till I realized it was undercooked that I noticed the skin was typical of undercooked chicken and the consistency of the breading wasn't right. Most people know when they're biting into undercooked chicken. I was in foodservice myself for several years, and I know undercooked chicken.

After maneuvering through the indifferent bureaucracy again, never receiving any apology or expression of concern for my safety or well-being, this time I went to the Buffets Inc. company itself.

The first customer relations person I spoke with, Lisa, was just as non-chalant and did not apologize or ask if I suffered any illness or discomfort over the chicken. She offered me a discount certificate.

I asked to speak with a supervisor, because I did not buy my meal with a discount certificate. I paid full price, and I expected resolution at full price. The supervisor, who called himself Brent, basically called me a liar and argued with me. Brent had no first-hand information, because he did not conduct a first-hand investigation.

He simply said the store manager told him that the chicken bone wasn't broken and all the chicken temped right. Neither Brent nor his mythical store manager knew the date or time of the incident, nor whether the piece was a drum, wing, thigh or breast, nor any other detail. But Brent magically knew that the bone wasn't broken and the chicken temped right.

Brent refused to address my complaint. I have filed complaints with the appropriate health and consumer agencies. The problem is that these agencies let businesses know in advance when they will inspect the operation, so the managers have time to make sure everything looks good for the inspectors. And investigations can take weeks or even months.

Worst of all, in Wisconsin the investigation results are not released in any public warning notice as they would be in some other States. That's why we've had some of the nation's worst food poisoning cases in Wisconsin. So more people can be victimized because they don't even know of the problem.

I will never eat there again, nor at any other Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, or any other Buffets Inc. restaurant.
     
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Anonymous on 2005-08-17:
Had that problem a few months back with some "buffalo wings". Because of the dim lighting and hot sauce I ate three pieces before I noticed. This is a lot more common than people think. Don't know if they're the same people but the "Country Buffet" restaurants out here are horrible.
AZJEM on 2005-08-18:
Most likely these people have not experienced "real" food poisening or they would hopefully be more concerned. Adults and children have died from e-coli. These food establishments need to educate their employees more on this terrible food illness. With caution, a lot of it could be avoided.
Ponie on 2005-08-20:
Something I'll never understand: People will continually return once or twice a month for years to a restaurant where they've had several unpleasant dining experiencing. I realize receiving undercooked chicken is a no-no, but the second time I received bad food at a restaurant would be the last time I stepped foot inside the door. Just don't patronize them anymore. If enough people had that attitude, they'd soon be out of business and would know the reason why because of the verbal complaints they received. I wouldn't waste my time jumping through hoops to get to the right person. The discount/gift certificates finally received aren't worth raising my blood pressure.
metalmorphasis on 2008-10-09:
I ate at Old Country Buffet for 20+ years without a problem until the other day when I was eating my spring mix salid,I almost ate a dead grasshopper laying belly up alongside a leaf!

I got my meal free,BUT, I think I will give up on their salids for a while!
yack on 2010-07-03:
I work For OCB And everything you say sounds plausible. All workers are required to cook and make sure food is (poultry for you) is at least 175 degrees or higher. What don't sound rite is whoever was managing this particular restaurant must not have very good management skills to begin with. He should have Showed acknowledgment toward your complaint and showed sympathy and an understanding that you were right and that the known product that was under cooked should have been taken off immediately to be re-cooked and fixed. these kind of of restaurants run on a two cook staff and if you got a guy who is not very good at his job could have pulled the chicken up to early. Especially with the amount of chicken these restaurants go through form dropping so many trays the oild could have gotten cold and the oil not heating up fast enough so even though they said it was temped they probably only temped the hot well it was sitting in the cook should have checked the internal temperature before serving it to you, but whatever manager you dealed with was not very good.
Smiles777 on 2010-12-24:
I have been to a few OCB restaurants and I will say ALL are horrible. When you complain..not only does management not listen, but they engage in "gas lighting." Ever heard of that? Look it up. They will collaborate to make your experience so horrendous that you will never return, rather than address the issue. Management will support them too as they don't want to deal with litigation. If you complain about food poisioning, you will be flagged as a bad customer, an undesirable, if you will, and the gaslighting will begin until you stop coming. Old Country Buffet is a hideous restaurant. Its staff is unprofessional and unresponsive, f not down right incompetent. Food poisoining is rampant here. There are plenty of good restaurants out there. Give this one a pass. Many of these chaisn are going out of business for good reason. They are poorly managed and run by imbeciles.
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