When people decide to go out to eat at a buffet, chances are they aren't signing up nor expecting a world-class dining experience. However, there is a line between an affordable meal and absolute slop-fest. Golden Corral, being one of, if not the most popular buffet chain in the United States, has its share of horrific experiences. Below, bother patrons and former employees share their Golden Corral horror stories.
"We were waiting in line for the soft serve machine at Golden Corral. The woman in front of us gets up to the machine and awkwardly jerks the handle around in an attempt to get at the sweet, sweet ice cream within. She's pushing, pulling, twisting, doing literally everything but turning it to the right (which would have dispensed the ice cream).
She's really perplexed by this. So she takes the next logical step, of course, which is to wrap her lips around the spout, form a seal on it with her mouth and start trying to suck it right out of the tap. One of the workers sees this and looks on in disgust before he unplugs the machine. On the way out, we see that he put an out of order sign on it, so thankfully they didn't keep serving it after that whole incident."
"I was 13 or 14 and visiting some family in Modesto, California. One day, my uncle and I are leaving the mall and he asks if I'm hungry. I say yes and he says 'You wanna go here?' while motioning to a Golden Corral built into the mall. I say 'OK!' because I'm a teenaged bottomless pit. We walk around the stations, fill our plates, and sit down to eat. We are eating for maybe 5 minutes when we both hear a loud commotion. Not sure what the sound is, we look up at each other and then around the dining area, both confused as to what we are hearing/where it is coming from. And then we both see it.
Across the dining room, a morbidly obese man is sitting at a long table by himself. The alarming sound we were hearing was his loud, guttural retching. That's when I see the most violent spray of vomit I've ever witnessed. There is so much, it must have been a solid six or seven heaves. And he isn't even slumped over! He is such a big person that as the vomit is spraying out of his mouth, only his head is jerking back and forth. He is trying to cover his mouth with his hand,s but it looks like that has the same effect as when you hold your thumb over the end of a water hose. The spray easily covers his table, covers his plates, and then is spilling over the edges onto the floor. Near the end of the heaves, there is less pressure so it is just oozing out of his mouth and onto his chin, chest, belly, and thighs.
He doesn't move. He sits in it. Some employees who didn't look like they were much older than me run over and take inventory of the damage. They are asking him if he is ok. They are apologizing. They are taking his vomit covered plates away. They are wiping the table off with wet rags. One of them brings a bucket and mop over. He uses some of the rags to clean himself up. The people who are sitting near him have already gotten up and left in obvious disgust. My uncle and I cannot look away. The employees leave. He's doesn't move. He sits there. I go back to eating my food because I'm a hungry teenager. A few minutes later, while I'm eating, my uncle gets my attention and motions for me to look back at the man's table. We both watch him stand up, grab his walker, walk back over to a station, and start to serve himself more food. He went back to his table, sat down, and continued to eat. It was incredible."
"One day my wife and I were at Golden Corral for breakfast. They had someone there making omelets. If you've never been to one they have the raw egg for the omelets sitting in one if the serving bowls to keep it cool. It is behind everything else but is still with the rest of the food. Watched an older gentleman ladle the eggs over guys whole plate of food. I told him it was raw egg but he argued saying it was hollandaise sauce. Watched him go to his table and eat about half the food and then complain to a waiter that the hollandaise tasted bad only to be told it was eggs."
"A few years back when Golden Corral first got the chocolate fountains, I went there and was going to try it out. As I was walking up to the fountain and I started to contemplate what I was going to have, a toddler took his drink and poured it into the fountain and ruined it. The manager came over and was going ballistic because they had just set it up for the day and now they would completely have to replace the chocolate.
Shortly after, this man came up and decided he wanted some chocolate brownies, but he couldn't as the machine was being purged in the back of the place, so what did he do? The guy just put his tray down and left the restaurant, went to the toddler's family's car, and slashed their tires. He was never caught after that.
That man was a different kind of devoted that the world needs."
"Back when I was a kid I would visit my grandparents in Florida, and because where I'm from doesn't have buffets, they took me to Golden Corral to have dinner one night to see what it was like. NEVER. AGAIN.
All of the meat was rotten, which somehow nobody noticed (it smelled so rancid you could smell it from the front door). At least until someone went for seconds and as they went to grab more fried chicken, they threw up ALL OVER THE FOOD. The protective plate that protects the food from people's breath from hitting the food was shattered previously, so this guy literally puked ALL OVER the fried chicken and all the other meat products around.
And then he TOOK the puke-covered chicken, wiped it off with a napkin, and ate it. As did another like...15 people? Somehow they thought this was fine, having this 80-year-old man puke all over their food, and that a napkin would get rid of germs.
Then came the ice cream. I thought it would be fine, as there surprisingly was not a lot of traffic near that area. I quickly saw why though for when I walked up to the area, the 'vanilla' ice cream was soupy, and looked like it had chocolate chips in it. Upon closer inspection, I realized those 'chocolate chips' were actually little bits of crushed beetles. BEETLES. I tried to tell and employee, but their response was 'Oh! Yeah, the ice cream mixer seems to have a lot of those in there, we just leave them. More protein, right?' What? NO. Let's just say I have never been to another buffet since."
"The Golden corral in the city where I went to college got shut down thanks to an employee.
He found it odd that they made a busboy sign a non-disclosure form to work there, he found out it was because they were breaking just about every health and safety rule.
They were serving meat that had turned green, they would leave food out overnight, the freezer once broke down for three days and they kept serving from it despite it being in the danger zone. He wore a hidden camera and gave the news the footage. It made me SO glad I never ate there."
"I met the devil in the form of a 6-year-old at Golden Corral.
I was at the buffet about two months ago, standing at the dessert bar when this incredibly obese kid comes up to me and tugs on my purse and asks me to help him get a bowl of ice cream. I'm a little weirded out; where in the world are this kid's parents, and why is he asking a stranger for help? But I get it for him, regardless.
He smiled at me, and then I swear to god his eyes flashed red. He took the bowl, and threw it at my face!
I couldn't help but scream a little, which got the attention of that entire half of the restaurant, and then I just stood there, melty chocolate dripping off my chin and onto the floor. The kid giggled, like an evil little clown doll, and ran away into the men's bathroom. I swear to God, I almost ran after him.
We were refunded for our meal and we left before they were able to lure the little menace out of the bathroom; I heard that it took over fifteen minutes for the parents to step forward, even though they saw the entire thing happen.
Learn to control your children, jerks."
"I was 10 when I went to Golden Corral on my brother's birthday. After finishing my second plate I decided to go to the bathroom. I was chilling in the stall trying to relax when this man, we'll call him Butch, entered the adjacent stall (I should note that another man, who we'll call Tyrone, entered the other adjacent stall but Tyrone's not important right now).
The first thing I noticed was Butch's feet; they were hairy with very disgusting toenails (the ones that look like tree bark painted yellow), and entirely chaffed. I didn't realize that he was facing the toilet because of those feet so I had no warning to get out of what was soon to be a war zone. Apparently Butch, God help him, decided to stand up in front of the toilet and puke into it. It wasn't like Sea World where they identify a splash zone so I wasn't ready for the bile to come from over and under the stall walls, I swear he must have been puking like the girl from exorcist. I used my hoodie to cover myself and I pulled the strings to close the hood.
The smell was awful and the guy Butch filled the entire bathroom with the stench. I was close to throwing up myself when I see it. The sight sent me over the edge. Through the tiny hole in my hood I saw this man's disgusting feet covered in barf.
I proceeded to paint the inside of my hoodie, almost like a young warrior following the alpha male in this tribal bathroom. Moments later, I was making my way out of the stall, very slowly. Butch was spitting into toilet, muttering 'sorry' repeatedly.
This is when Tyrone came into play, Tyrone was hurriedly trying to wash his hands and cover his nostrils when he can. He saw me exiting the stall and I was standing there for a moment before a big glob of puke fell from the interior of my hoodie. Tyrone reached his breaking point. Now he was throwing up in the sink.
By this point, someone must have alerted the janitors, and they were swooping in. There must have been five mop buckets sitting outside the bathroom when I finally made my way out. This whole time my family was sitting at the table, I even missed the birthday song and dessert they had for my brother. But I didn't care, I just wanted to go home."
"I served at Golden Corral for six months and it was an awful place. You'd think it would be easy because you don't take orders, right? Wrong. Cleaning up the messes, bussing tables, getting drinks and clean plates, singing for birthdays plus side work definitely kept you busy. Most of the customers weren't the greatest — they made an appalling mess, let their kids run wild, didn't tip (we were paid $2.13/hr and needed tips) no matter how much you bent over backward for them. I saw so many unaccompanied kids reaching into the buffet serving dishes; I saw one kid dip his marshmallow into the chocolate fountain, lick the chocolate off, and put the same marshmallow back in over and over. The customers weren't normally very easy to deal with; rudeness was the norm there...for example people got into a physical fight over a table on Easter Sunday.
The managers were jerks. They abused everyone, both seemed to hate women, and took advantage of the fact that a lot of the staff was foreign. When we got a negative mystery shop report, we were all gathered into a meeting to be screamed at. When the next shop report was excellent, nothing at all was said, the report was just posted to the bulletin board. My one boss told me to be sure to report all my tips to the IRS, since he was 'sure I'd be a waitress all my life' he wanted to 'make sure I'd get something from social security when I was old.'
The managers carried the tea bags in their pockets — if your customer wanted a cup of tea, you had to track a boss down and they would snarlingly, begrudgingly hand one over. Servers were also expected to catch and confront people stealing from the buffet (putting leftovers in their bag for example).
We weren't allowed to eat. Most cheaper restaurants will give you a meal per shift, but not Golden Corral. It was hard when you saw how much was wasted to not think you deserved a piece of bread or broken cookie maybe. To eat you had to clock out, get in line, pay half price, get your plate, and then sit down. After five minutes, a manager would almost always come over and say, 'We're busy, break's over,' so you had to get back to work and throw your food away.
I am hypoglycemic so my solution was to eat right before work and carry a granola bar in my pocket. I could eat the bar and get away with it in the women's bathroom because the managers were both men. One time, I was so stressed out and trying to scarf down my bar while in the next stall, a very large woman took a very large and smelly dump. I was one of the worst moments in my life. I quit shortly thereafter, got a much better job, and called up Golden Corral's corporate office to tell them everything."
"I was at a Golden Corral against my better judgement recently and saw a lady walk up to a chocolate fountain with her friends, stick her tongue all the way in it, turn around and yell out 'chocolate fountain challenge' before exiting the restaurant. Pretty much confirmed why I refuse to ever eat from a chocolate fountain, Golden Corral or even buffets in general."
"My grandmother's favorite place to eat in all the world was Golden Corral. We all get through line and sit down to eat, nothing out of the ordinary. Finish the meal, the bill gets paid, and as we're getting our coats on and ready to go, my grandma says something like, 'Oh, I almost forgot. [Uncle], can you go get my dentures? I dropped them in the chicken noodle soup.'
The whole family goes silent, looks at each other, and begins hurrying out the door. My uncle used the ladle to fish her dentures out and ran. Nobody was told, and as far as I know, no one saw. She is why I will never eat at Golden Corral again."
"Made the mistake of going to a Golden Corral with my parents one day when we were all starving (I'd rather starve now).
This was right after they started promoting chocolate fountains, so a lot of families with their kids running around, I was a teenager so I was looking forward to being able to get a little bowl of chocolate to dip my fruit in, walk to the place where they had it only to witness a kid about 6 literally drinking from the fountain with a combination of his hands and mouth, absolutely covered in chocolate.
His parents? Laughing their butts off and filming. Manager came over and tried to get them to leave since the kid just completely contaminated the entire thing and the dad LOST it, screaming and yelling obscenities before storming out with the mom and kid who started screaming that he wanted more chocolate.
Yeah, haven't been back since."
"After a pathfinder game, my friends and I went over for steak night. They also have this chocolate fountain where you can dip various things in. A friend of mine loved to dip a brownie in it. Ok I get that. But while I was standing there deciding what I wanted, this rather large women came over with a piece of friend chicken in her hand. She ripped the skin off in one go, stuck her hand and skin knuckle deep in the fountain and ate the chocolate covered skin then and there. She turned to me and said, 'Whatchu lookin at?' before waddling off.
Another time while standing in line we were waiting for steak but over ten minutes passed and no one came to serve us. This taller man in a white shirt and jeans reached under, grabbed the tongs and started to cook the meat, turning it, and serving people in line. He was a hero to everyone there even asking how they wanted their steak.
I was once placed next to a very large birthday party. Kids throwing food, making a mess, being loud. This younger girl got on the table and started twerking and shaking her booty around and the mother had her hands raised and was throwing napkins and dollars at her.
Another time we were there after a D&D session. There were quite a lot of bros with it being a college town. They were picking through food with their hands while also vaping up the place pretty badly before starting a fight with the management to the point the cops had to show up.
Then there was the time I went in, got my drink, and started to eat when I noticed something in my glass tasted strange. I looked in and dug out with a spoon a press on nail. I spoke to the manager who said, 'Not this again.'
The last time I was there, this man had to be in his 40s squatted and defecated to the side of the salad buffet before leaving. The bathroom entrance was right behind him."
"I had family members that absolutely LOVED buffets and were the type of people who always wanted to 'get their money's worth.' While they never did anything horrifying as far as being sanitary goes, the sheer amount of food they would pile up was definitely embarrassing.
One time that sticks out to me was at a family outing to our local Golden Corral. Our family would always sit near the dessert section and one of my cousins loved the chocolate pie they served. So much so, that when they put out a new pie, she went up and took THE ENTIRE PIE except maybe one slice. When my mom asked for a piece, considering there wasn't any left by the time she got up there, my cousin said 'Just wait 20 minutes and they'll put out a new one.' They seriously sat for hours so she could eat 6 pieces of pie. I love my family but I will never understand that kind of behavior."
"I was out eating with my family because it was the only decent place to stop at on our road trip. I was standing near the chocolate fountain machine, this man walks up to it, cheese burger in hand, and he sticks it into the fountain. He went in and chocolate got up to his wrist, he takes a bite, dips it in again, then goes to sit down and eats the whole thing. The woman who worked there was standing near him and I will never forget the look on her face. It was a mix of confusion, astonishment, and just sheer disgust."
"I wasn't a worker, but a patron. My school was on a trip heading down south. When lunch plans were cancelled last minute, and the chaperones had to come up with something. Unfortunately, it was Golden Corral, the epitome of fine dining. Close to 200 some odd kids in a single Golden Corral is always a good idea. About half of us had gotten our food when a fight broke out. Two separate families, duking it out with their fists. Most of the students and customers just sat and watched the spectacle. Eventually, one of the workers got involved in the fight (I think he was a member of one of the families).
Also, when I say two families, I mean that every single solitary member of each family was fighting the other. Lots of yelling and screaming while I just want to get the ice cream machine on the other side of the fight. After quite some time, someone had enough brains to call the police. Only one arrest was made, one of the family members was charged with illegal possession, and the rest piled into their cars and left."
"I was at a Golden Corral in Tennessee. So I messed up from the start. But waiting in line the two gigantic women in front order sweet tea for their drinks. They sit at the table in front of ours taste the tea. One woman exclaims that it wasn’t sweet enough and adds all the sugar packets from her table to her tea.
For those don’t know what sweet tea is. Envision eating a five pound bag of sugar with a sip of tea. Later I saw the same woman use a soup bowl at the chocolate waterfall thing and proceeded to eat it with a spoon."