Have Americans soured on all-you-can eat buffets?

In the last few years, a number of high-profile buffet chains have floundered — including Ryan's and Old Country Buffet, which have seen declining sales, and HomeTown Buffet,which filed for bankruptcy in 2016.

Joining Boston Public Radio to explain these struggles was Corby Kummer, a senior editor at The Atlantic, an award-winning food writer, and a senior lecturer at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy.

"For a long time, buffets did work out because they could buy big bulk food for cheap. They could take advantage of food deals and serve whatever was cheap in big quantity," Kummer said.

"It removes a lot of labor costs because people are serving themselves," he added.

That business model was hit hard by the recession of 2008, when food costs increased and fewer people went out to eat.

"When food costs went up, it stopped being economical," Kummer said.