Fast Food Buffets That No Longer Exist

Can you imagine getting to eat as many McMuffins as you wanted for a set price? Or a neverending bucket of the Colonel's original recipe fried chicken? How about as many crunchy tacos as you could devour from Taco Bell? The happy (or sad, depending on your point of view) truth is all-you-can-eat fast food buffets actually existed at some point in America's decorated history. The sad (or happy) truth is most of them have been gone for decades.

Whether they were a success or not is still a matter of debate — as is the matter of their existence, as many don't remember ever seeing them. The only thing we know for sure is they were spectacular in the best and worst ways. So which fast food franchises took the glorious plunge into the buffet game? More than you probably remember. Keep reading to reminisce about the fast food buffets that no longer exist.

McDonald's Breakfast Buffet

When most people think of the McDonald's Breakfast Buffet, they often ... don't think of anything at all. It has become the stuff of legend, the kind of thing many argue over its existence. If you search online for the near-mythical restaurant, very little hard evidence shows up, besides old memories from unsure patrons on scattered forums. But the people who remember are emphatic that they existed.

On a message board discussing the possible existence, one Redditor swears McDonald's had a breakfast buffet in the early '90s. They claim to have had limitless sausage, hash brown hotcakes, and square-shaped scrambled eggs. They go on to say the location they went to even had fried potato hash browns as well. A writer at Eater found someone who once ate at a location in Illinois with a buffet. "I'm a little relieved that I didn't imagine the breakfast buffet since no one ever knows what the f*** I'm talking about when I bring it up," the woman told Eater. She goes on to say there were scrambled eggs, pancakes, hash brown tiles, sausage, and bacon. Another forum poster claims they read a post about eating at an all-you-can-eat breakfast at McDonald's for just $10 for a family of four ... yet the message mysteriously vanished.

Whether the McDonald's Breakfast Buffet actually existed or it's yet another example of the Mandela effect, one thing is for sure — McDonald's should once again bring back its breakfast buffet.

All-You-Can-Eat Taco Bell

The next fast food buffet that may or may not have existed (but definitely doesn't exist now) is the Taco Bell all-you-can-eat buffet. Although it has never been officially confirmed by the restaurant chain, some people swear the glorious taco haven existed in the mid-'90s.

One Redditor said their local Taco Bell "would roll out a 'self-serve salad bar' type thing" that had all of the classic Taco Bell ingredients, including beef, cheese, beans, and your choice of a soft tortilla or a hard taco shell. They go on to say it was a great deal, but "us teenagers probably destroyed its chances of succeeding for Taco Bell." Thanks a lot.

Another Reddit claims they experienced the elusive Taco Bell buffet in the '80s and specifically remembers there being a "full bar and real beef." Someone else replied, confirming it existed and that they used to drive over an hour to get to one. One doctor who studied at Johns Hopkins told Eater the Taco Bell Express located in her dorm had an all-you-can-eat option that let her order as many bean burritos and nachos as her heart desired without paying a cent — but the program vanished after a year.

It's not surprising. An all-you-can-eat Taco Bell might be a privilege and responsibility too great for mankind to handle.

Wendy's Superbar

Of all of the fast food buffets that popped up in the '80s and '90s, the Wendy's Superbar might be the most well-documented of them all. A news report from 1988 that went viral on TikTok gave an up-close look at the Wendy's Superbar. Although Italian and Mexican food isn't what first comes to mind for the burger chain, that's what it served. 

You could find bars with fettuccine alfredo, crispy garlic bread made from hamburger buns, meat sauce, Spanish rice, refried beans, and everything you needed to make a loaded taco. There was even an extensive salad bar that had desserts like butterscotch pudding. The craziest part? It cost only $3.69 for a person to come in and fill up on all of the goods. For those 12 and under, it went even lower to $2.99 and came with a drink and a prize. According to the executive being interviewed in the news segment, the Superbar was made to "take them out of the fast food business" and differentiate themselves from the competition to reach a new market segment.

Some people fondly remember the Wendy's Superbar. One TikTok commenter said, "I would beg my mom to take me to Wendy's for the salad bar." Another said, "They had THE BEST GARLIC BREAD." Reddit poster u/coondoggin even boldly claimed, "The tacos were well worth the price AND better than Taco Bell." All of which begs the question: Why did Wendy's get rid of it?

Pizza Hut Buffet

If there's one type of food that should be served in an all-you-can-eat manner, it's pizza. And fast food giant Pizza Hut (used to) agree. Back in 1992, the company had already been expanding like crazy across America. That summer, the genius executives of the restaurant chain decided to experiment with a dine-in experience (despite the fact that most of its growth was due to its delivery service). More than 2,000 all-you-can-eat buffets were opened across the nation.

Despite the ridiculously good deal of endless pizza, pasta, and salad for a measly $3.99 a person (and $1.99 for kids), the Pizza Hut buffet just wasn't cutting it. The entire nation seemed to be moving away from all-you-can-eat bars and their sneeze guards, and the restaurant chain finally gave in to the movement.

Despite its exit from our lives, some of those who visited the all-you-can-eat restaurant have fond memories. Twitter user @CeeFor says, "Every '90s birthday party at Pizza Hut was lit. Wrapping it up with the ice cream buffet was god level. Simpler times." It's clear that the red-shingled restaurant wasn't just about lukewarm pizza — it was a valuable childhood experience that will be remembered forever.

Apparently, there's still one left in Sydney, Australia. TikToker @johnfredrie documented his experience, saying it's exactly how he remembered it from the '90s. A commenter replied, "It's like a person who keeps an old car in perfect condition." It might just be worth the plane ticket.

KFC Buffet

Thinking of bottomless buckets of KFC's fried chicken? No, it's not just a dream you had the other night while drooling all over your pillow. It's still a reality in a few locations. Just like the other fast food buffets on this list, many believed the KFC buffet was nothing more than made-up nonsense. One Redditor said, "I've had no luck searching on Google, but I swear I went to one once a couple years back. Been thinking about it ever since..."

A Foodbeast writer reported finding one in 2012 in Southern California with all of the fixings your heart desires: towers of mashed potatoes, endless hot plates of drumsticks, jugs of gravy, heaps of mac and cheese, and piles of biscuits. It can only be imagined how this lonesome KFC buffet survived the turbulence of the past several decades. Another Redditor reported their town had a KFC buffet until the pandemic caused it to close. 

But a few do exist. A YouTuber posted video in January 2023 of a KFC buffet in Pennsylvania, saying, "It is really good!" One TikToker posted about a KFC buffet in Saskatchewan, Canada, in October 2022. A KFC buffet in Tokyo allows customers to eat as much fried chicken as they desire — and even offers an all-you-can-drink alcohol option. One food reviewer who waited five hours to eat there in March 2023 reported being underwhelmed by the options. No gravy, he said. Maybe it's better Americans don't have access to this.

Popeye's Buffet

Speaking of long-lived, all-you-can-eat, fast food fried chicken joints — Louisiana used to be home to the only Popeyes buffet. The popular Southern restaurant chain used to have a few locations with buffets in the early 2010s, but that dwindled down to a single Lafayette location, giving it the crown as the only Popeyes buffet on earth — a title it flaunted often. As reported by Eater, a local paper called NOLA Weekend advertised the restaurant with style: "The Only Popeye's Buffet in the World! It's right next door in Lafayette! Yes, that's right: a Popeyes buffet. HERE."

When you walked into this Popeyes, you only needed to hand over a crisp $10 bill to enjoy unlimited servings of its famous fried chicken, biscuits, red beans, rice, green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy. It even used to serve menu items like macaroni, spaghetti, and tacos. According to lucky YouTuber Midnight Cravings who visited the buffet before its demise, the chicken was spicy, crunchy, and had an unforgettable chicken batter. He happily munched on his food as Cajun music played in the background.

It wasn't just the common Louisiana man who enjoyed the fast food buffet. Even the legendary Anthony Bourdain was said to have frequented the fast food buffet all the time. But in December 2021, radio station Hot 107.9 reported the local favorite was finally eliminating its buffet amid COVID-19 restrictions. As the legendary line goes, "Nothing gold can stay."