Two Brighton men have been in the news today, after being banned for life from a local all-you-can-eat Mongolian restaurant. Apparently the restaurant owner had underestimated just how much it was possible for a person to eat, and was worried for his livelihood.
And they are not the first to find themselves out in the cold.
BannedThe two men, 26-year-old former rugby player George Dalmon, and his friend Andy Miles, had been regulars at the Gobi Mongolian restaurant in Brighton. They paid £12 a time, drank only water, and would regularly put away five or more bowls of stir fry.
The manager told reporters: "Basically they just come in and pig out. We have put up with them for two years but I've had enough."
The manager pointed out that as a business he has the right to serve who he likes: the men argued that all-you-can-eat should mean nothing more or less.
Not aloneBut while it can't have been a pleasant experience for the business or the diners, they can take comfort from the fact that there are plenty of others in the same position.
In this case, he said he wasn't surprised his appetite had alarmed staff, as a fried breakfast alone for him will include six sausages, seven rashers of bacon, four fried eggs, black puddings, beans, mushrooms and seven or eight pieces of toast.
Meanwhile, across the pond, 350lb 6'6" Wisconsin man Bill Witsh hit headlines after being thrown out of a fried fish buffet for consuming too much. Staff gave him a doggy bag, but even this wasn't enough to stop him picketing the restaurant.
Is this fair?The question of who is in the right is somewhat vexed. If somewhere advertises that you can eat what you want, they don't tend to put 'within reason' in the small print, so you could feel irritated if you are left hungry.
On the other hand, these are businesses that need to make money in order to keep going. In order to profit from this sort of deal they need to calculate the average amount a person tends to eat, and price the buffet accordingly. If they get a few outliers who can consume their bodyweight in food, they can either put the price up to reflect that - or they can throw them out.
It makes sense for the business and the majority of their customers to keep a lid on the maximum that can be eaten, so they can avoid putting prices up.
But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.