Changes You Didn't Know Golden Corral Has Made During The Pandemic

In the days before the pandemic, no one could argue that Golden Corral held a stranglehold on the down-home, country-style buffet scene. According to Golden Corral, the chain opened in Fayetteville, North Carolina and nearly 50 years later, still continued to feature a massive buffet that served up steak, fried chicken, and more. All that came to a crashing halt thanks to COVID-19. Buffets took some of the worst hits in the food industry during 2020 — a large portion of restaurants that followed this business model shuttered over the course of the year, and the ones that survived now have to revamp how they handle food in order to make it past health codes (via BBC).

While Golden Corral struggled to shift away from the buffet model, the chain has pulled through some of the darkest business days and come back swinging with a revamp that guarantees to turn some heads. According to Delish, the chain has started serving alcohol at select locations, even featuring frozen daiquiris and margaritas alongside classic beer and wine choices. According to Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary, in order to avoid creating a bar-like atmosphere, the chain plans to institute a two-drink limit and you can only order alcohol with food, so don't expect to make Golden Corral your next happy hour location anytime soon.

Major changes for the buffet giant

This move to include alcohol might seem minimal and strikes the average restaurant-goer as a good business move, but the new policy goes against a long-standing company policy for Golden Corral. The restaurant purposefully kept booze off menus for years and every franchise had to make sure to avoid the sale of alcohol (via Golden Corral). The chain even avoided staying open at late hours, presumably to maintain the pretense of remaining family-friendly. This sea change pushes Golden Corral in a radically new direction, and if you ever wished you could chow down on some country-fried steak alongside a frozen margarita, your time has come!

If this new image for Golden Corral strikes your fancy, make sure to visit your local branch sometime soon to take advantage of the chain's new alcohol menu. If that can't bring you back in, you can take heart knowing that the chocolate fountain has also made its return, per Delish. While the fountain has to sit behind plexiglass and you need a staff member to dip your desserts, you can once again live large at Golden Corral. Make sure to stop in sometime soon and take advantage of the two-drink limit while you can — if the inclusion of alcohol doesn't win customers over, we might not see daiquiris on the menu much longer.