How Much Does Golden Corral Cost Per Person?

Last Updated on March 13, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Golden Corral is one of the most popular buffet-style restaurant chains in the United States. With over 600 locations across the country, it’s known for its endless buffet offerings and affordable prices. But what exactly does Golden Corral cost for adults?

This article will break down Golden Corral’s pricing structure, menu highlights, special offers, and how it compares to competitors. Read on to understand what to expect as an adult dining at Golden Corral.

Golden Corral Price Ranges

Golden Corral prices can vary by location, meal period, day of the week, and specific offerings like steak night. However, the typical national price ranges are:

  • Lunch (11am – 4pm): $8.99 – $11.99 per adult
  • Dinner (4pm – close): $12.99 – $16.99 per adult
  • Weekend Brunch (opening – 4pm): $9.99 – $14.99 per adult

These represent the base all-you-can-eat buffet prices. Additional charges may apply for premium drinks, desserts, or menu extras.

Prices are generally cheaper earlier in the day and more expensive for dinner. It’s also common to see discounts on slower days like Monday – Wednesday. Kids’ prices are lower, usually about $2 cheaper than the adult rate.

Golden Corral Prices For Adults

The exact Golden Corral buffet price for adults depends on a few factors:

  • Location – Prices vary across the country, with higher prices in major metro areas.
  • Meal period – Lunch is cheaper than dinner. Weekend brunch is mid-range. Golden Corral breakfast buffet is very popular as well.
  • Day of the week – Earlier weekdays tend to have lower prices.
  • Regular vs “Prime” Rib Night – Special steak nights cost $3-5 more.
  • Holidays – Special holiday meals often cost $2-3 more.
  • Regional pricing – Some locations in high-cost states like California may charge higher base prices.

To check prices at your local Golden Corral, check their website or call ahead. The average base buffet price per adult runs $10-14 for lunch and $14-17 for dinner.

The Daily Meal notes that Golden Corral prices dinner for adults at $16.99 Monday through Saturday. However, those prices don’t kick in until 4:00 p.m. (except on Sunday, when dinner prices start at 11:00 a.m.).

That means if you visit Golden Corral restaurants between 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays, you’re paying $11.49.

According to the Golden Corral Price Guide, weekday lunch prices typically start at around $11.49 per person, while dinner prices can range from $12.99 to $16.99. Weekend pricing is slightly higher, with brunch starting at around $9.99 and dinner prices ranging from $14.99 to $16.99.

It’s worth noting that pricing may vary by location, and additional charges may apply for drinks or special menu items.

Pricing Structure for Children

Kids’ meals at Golden Corral are simpler and cheaper:

  • Ages 0-3 eat free with each paying adult
  • Ages 4-5 are $2 less than adult price
  • Ages 6-8 are $1 less than adult price
  • Ages 9-12 pay the adult price

So if the lunch buffet is $10.99 for adults, it would be:

  • Ages 0-3: Free
  • Ages 4-5: $8.99
  • Ages 6-8: $9.99
  • Ages 9-12: $10.99

This encourages families with kids to dine at Golden Corral for an affordable meal. Children’s pricing makes it one of the best value family buffets.

Overview of Golden Corral Buffet

Golden Corral is a U.S.-based buffet restaurant chain that offers all-you-can-eat meals at a single price. Founded in 1973 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the company has expanded to over 600 locations in 42 states today.

Golden Corral is best known for its endless buffet featuring American classics like fried chicken, pot roast, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and more. It markets itself as a budget-friendly option for family dining.

The Buffet Experience at Golden Corral

The main draw of Golden Corral is the endless all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet features a large variety of American classic dishes like:

  • Fried chicken
  • Pot roast
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Soups and salad bar

There is also a dessert bar with cakes, brownies, fruit, pudding, and soft-serve ice cream.

The buffet layout encourages diners to explore various stations. However, it can also get crowded and chaotic at peak times. The all-you-can-eat dining style means you can sample as much as you want, but quality may vary.

Menu Highlights

While the full Golden Corral buffet menu changes seasonally, some year-round favorites include:

  • Fried Chicken – A Golden Corral classic freshly fried on-site
  • Pot Roast – Slow-cooked roast beef in brown gravy
  • Bourbon Street Steak – Grilled sirloin steak with bourbon sauce
  • Baby Back Ribs – Smoky and tender pork ribs
  • Salad Bar – Fresh greens with lots of topping choices
  • Yeast Rolls – Warm, soft rolls in plain or cinnamon honey
  • Chocolate Fountain – Fountain flowing with dipping goodies

Expect comfort food classics like mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, soups, pizza, and pasta as well. The variety makes it easy to get your money’s worth from the buffet.

You might also like our articles about the cost of eating at Hell’s Kitchen, at Bellerive Country Club, or Exmoor Country Club.

Comparing Lunch and Dinner Prices

Golden Corral lunch prices tend to be $2-5 cheaper than dinner. Here’s a typical cost comparison:

  • Lunch: $9.99 – $11.99 per adult
  • Dinner: $12.99 – $15.99 per adult

However, the menu selections and food quality are very similar during lunch and dinner. Key differences:

  • Crowds – Lunch is generally less crowded with more seniors
  • Menu variety – Dinner may have a couple more entree choices
  • Steak night – Prime rib is usually only at dinner

So opting for the lunch buffet can save money with minimal tradeoffs. It’s a good choice if you want to sample the buffet at a lower price.

Special Offers and Promotions

Golden Corral LocationGolden Corral runs regular promotions to save on your buffet meal:

  • Military discounts – 10% discount for active duty and veterans
  • Senior discount – 10% discount for ages 60+
  • Kids eat free – On Memorial Day and Labor Day
  • $1.99 kids’ lunch – During summer months
  • Birthday discount – Free birthday meal during your birthday month

Ask about any current promotions when at the restaurant or check their website. Taking advantage of deals like the birthday freebie or $1.99 kids’ lunch provides big savings.

How Golden Corral Prices Compare to Other Buffets

Golden Corral provides strong value compared to competitors like Old Country Buffet and HomeTown Buffet:

  • Golden Corral lunch: $8.99 – $11.99
  • Old Country lunch: $10.99 – $13.99
  • HomeTown lunch: $9.99 – $14.99

For dinner buffet:

  • Golden Corral dinner: $12.99 – $15.99
  • Old Country dinner: $13.99 – $17.99
  • HomeTown dinner: $15.99 – $19.99

Golden Corral has a significant price advantage, especially for lunch. Their base prices run $1-3 cheaper than competitors for a similar all-you-can-eat dining experience.

Tips for a Budget-Friendly Visit

To keep your Golden Corral cost affordable, follow these tips:

  • Go for lunch instead of dinner
  • Pick an earlier weekday over the weekend
  • Look for discounted gift cards online
  • Stick to water or soft drinks instead of alcohol
  • Split one plate between two lighter eaters
  • Fill up on lower cost sides like mashed potatoes
  • Get a senior citizen discount if you qualify
  • Take advantage of kids eat free days

Avoiding premium charges like Steak Night can also help control your total bill.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Golden Corral buffet prices earn positive feedback from many budget-minded diners. They praise the extensive food options available for the price on TripAdvisor and Yelp. Typical comments include:

“I love the variety they offer at their buffet for only about $12.”

“You get your money’s worth from the buffet with so many choices.”

“It’s the perfect place when you want a lot of comfort food for not a lot of money.”

However, some feel the food quality and flavor are lacking for the price point. Expect American cuisine classics rather than gourmet entrees.


For all-you-can-eat American fare under one roof, Golden Corral offers adults a flexible, budget-friendly buffet option. The cost per person runs cheaper than many competitors while still providing endless refills and variety. Patrons have plenty of choices without breaking the bank.

However, the lower price does mean managing expectations on food quality. The buffet trades off fancy flavors for affordable quantity. As long as you’re not looking for a gourmet meal, Golden Corral satisfies for the price.

By timing your visit right and taking advantage of discounts, adults can eat well at Golden Corral without overspending. Check your local prices and come hungry to maximize the buffet’s value. For many families, the combination of cost and selection makes Golden Corral a regular dining choice.


What is the cheapest time to eat at Golden Corral?

The cheapest time to eat at Golden Corral is typically lunchtime between 11am – 4pm, especially earlier in the week like Monday through Wednesday. Lunch buffet prices are generally $2-5 lower than dinner buffet rates. You can enjoy the same extensive food options for less by eating at Golden Corral for lunch.

Do you tip at Golden Corral?

You should plan to tip 15-20% at Golden Corral, even though it is a buffet. Since servers refill drinks, clear plates, and provide customer service, tipping is both customary and important. The typical tip amount would be $2-5 per person depending on your overall bill. Excellent service warrants 20%.

What is the busiest day at Golden Corral?

The busiest days and times at Golden Corral are usually weekend days, especially Sundays. Families often visit for an affordable meal after church on Sundays, leading to long waits and crowded buffet lines. Holiday weekends are also extremely busy. To avoid crowds, opt for lunch earlier in the week when the restaurant is less chaotic.

1 reply
  1. Tom Hostetler
    Tom Hostetler says:

    Hard to say what the Buffet prices actually are, as Golden Corral refuses to list them on their business web sites.


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