KFC Buffet Locations Do Still Exist. Here's Where To Find Them

For most Americans, visiting a KFC probably involves a trip down to the food court or to a stand-alone location. However, for the lucky inhabitants of a few specific cities, a trip to KFC looks more like a visit to a classic 1980s buffet. 

Starting back in the '80s, Colonel Sanders' famous fried chicken chain began to open stores that were equipt to serve buffet-style meals alongside the chain's popular fast service option. The buffets were designed to allow guests to sample multiple items from the KFC menu, which seems like an ideal arrangement for indecisive diners. Despite how delicious a KFC buffet may sound, the chain's buffet-style restaurants soon disappeared leaving just drive-thru and single-point service-based locations, following a larger trend leaning away from buffets throughout the restaurant industry. 

Much to the delight of KFC fans, a handful of KFC buffet restaurants still exist throughout the country. However, the remaining buffets are quite limited and hard to find.

Where Are KFC Buffet Locations

The relative secrecy around which KFC locations actually feature buffet lines could be due to the chain's closure of its remaining buffets in 2020 due to COVID dining restrictions. Several users on the KFC Reddit confirmed as much when they mentioned that their local KFC restaurants hadn't reopened their once-popular buffets. One Redditor wrote of their KFC's former buffet, "Ever since COVID's hard lockdown, they haven't had enough employees in the store to run the buffet. I imagine other locations with buffets have similar issues." 

While a trip to KFC's official website will allow you to find out if you have a KFC store near you, you won't have any luck finding out which locations are buffet-style. In order to get your hands on information regarding where to find a KFC buffet, you'll have to travel into the depths of the internet where a few dedicated bloggers have devoted their time to bringing KFC's secret buffet locations to light. 

Mary Catherine Blog is one such blog that has uncovered a few KFC buffet locations. In addition, the Facebook group KFC Buffet Aficionados features a gold mine of information regarding KFC buffet locations in the U.S. and far beyond, including a curated database of U.S.-based KFC buffets. According to our research, only about four KFC buffets remain, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Waynesboro, Virginia; and Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The History of KFC Buffets

Given KFC's global success with its famous fried chicken and fast-service style restaurants, branching out into a totally different business model may seem like an odd decision at first glance. However, it turns out KFC's foray into the buffet business was part of an effort to compete with its fast-food rivals. The 1980s was a decade when shopping trends were dominated by excess. This time period of opulence translated over to fast food trends and many brands began offering buffet-style dining on top of their regular fast service offerings in order to give guests the luxury they were looking for. 

With this in mind, KFC's 1980s buffets were launched to compete with the buffet offerings from other fast food heavyweights including McDonald's and Burger King (via Restaurant Clicks). While KFC's buffets offered the restaurant's most popular items topped off with a bevy of Southern side dishes, some of the chain's buffets offered more unexpected fare including Mexican and seafood.

Eventually, American diners fell out of love with the buffet line, and many fast-food restaurants began to hang up their salad tongs for good. By the time the 1990s rolled around, consumers had shifted to a more health-conscious way of thinking, meaning filling up multiple plates with mountains of fried chicken wasn't as appealing as it once was. This trend shift also meant most consumers were now more interested in fast-service or sit-down style restaurants. 

KFC Buffets in the Media

In more recent history, the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to put the finishing touches on the fast food buffet industry, but that hasn't stopped the memory of KFC buffets from making a buzz in the media. One Facebook user's decision to post a picture of an old KFC buffet located in Australia was enough to make international news, with stories of the unsuspecting Facebook post being shared in outlets like the New York Post, as well as in Australian news publications

The resurfacing of the lost KFC buffet image has introduced the concept of a fast-food-style buffet to a whole new generation of diners, many of whom seemed totally on board with the idea of bringing the smorgasbords back. At least one commenter seemed able to see past the smoke and mirrors of the seemingly unlimited fried chicken, stating that the buffets likely went out of business due to overly eager diners eating more than their fair share. They wrote: "Wow, never knew that was even a thing. I'm not surprised that would have failed."

Whether or not a KFC buffet would prove to be a smart business model now, the restaurant buffet's social media vitality and the internet's ambitious search to find North America's few remaining KFC buffet locations prove that the once popular all-you-can-eat chicken spots still hold a valued place in the hearts of many diners.