9 Things You HAVE to Know About Golden Corral (2024)

Updated: Jul. 14, 2022

Ever wonder why Golden Corral is "America's #1 buffet"? It starts with the golden rolls, obviously—but here's the whole story!

For many people, Golden Corral’s legendary buffet is the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. (We love breakfasts that feed a crowd!) The family-friendly chain has all the American essentials on its menu, and everything is all-you-can-eat. Golden Corral has spent the last 45 years perfecting its restaurants—here’s a look at the secrets to their success.

1. They love kids.

Monday through Thursday nights, kids eat for cheap. Plus, with all the options, you’re sure to find something for even your pickiest eater.Have a child under 3? They eat for free!

(Speaking of picky eaters, here are 15 secret weapons for parents of particular kids.)

2. They love veterans, too.

Golden Corral has given more than 5.1 million free meals to active duty military and veterans, and has donated $12.9 million to Disabled American Veterans. They also host a camp called Camp Corral for children of injured, ill and fallen military members. Over the past 6 years, Golden Corral restaurants have raised over $9 million and sent nearly 18,000 military children to Camp Corral.

3. Golden Corral started small.

The first Golden Corral was a 175-seat steakhouse in Fayetteville, North Carolina, back in 1973. From these humble beginnings, they’ve grown to roughly 500 locations around the U.S. (Here’s another famous chain with a surprising start.)

4. There’s a breakfast buffet.

On weekends, you definitely need to get to Golden Corral for their breakfast spread, with omelets and cooked-to-order eggs, pancakes and waffles, sausage and bacon, cinnamon rolls and fruit…we could go on, but let’s just say it’s really good. The price is right, too—less than $9.

5. The salad bar is out-of-this-world.

Diners swear by Golden Corral’s signature salad bar. With tons of different options to create the salad of your dreams, this GC staple alone is worth the trip. Bring on the bacon bits!

(Need to add more greens to your meals at home? These 35 salad ideas are way more exciting than another Caesar salad for lunch.)

6. Two words: chocolate fountain.

Golden Corral doesn’t just stop at classic treats. Their dessert buffet features freshly spun cotton candy, and they also have their Famous Chocolate Fountain—with plenty of treats for dunking. Some locations even have the triple fountain, with chocolate, white chocolate and caramel, so you can really Willy Wonka out.

Fondue? More like fun-due! Bring the chocolate fountain to your kitchen with this easy fondue recipe.

7. Golden Corral has a smoked menu.

In 2017, Golden Corral added its new Smokehouse menu, which includes brisket, baby back ribs, turkey and chicken smoked with hickory wood. All meat is smoked and cooked on-site, and you can douse your feast with a variety of different barbecue sauces. Yum!

Here’s how to turn your own grill into a smoker.

8. You can get Golden Corral to go.

Craving GC but really want to relax at home, too? Get the buffet to go! While they only offer delivery through GrubHub at the Winston-Salem location for now, you can always go into the restaurant and fill up to-go boxes with your favorites. Price is determined by weight when you check out.

9. Golden Corral has swag.

Are you a ride-or-die Golden Corral fan? Check out these T-shirts on Amazon, and wear your heart on your sleeve. After all, if you’re the Queen of the Golden Corral, people need to know!

Our Best Golden Corral Copycat Recipes

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Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Yeast RollsA yummy honey-garlic topping turns these easy dinner rolls into something extra special. Try ’em with soups and chili. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Check out these other famous copycat bread recipes.

Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Fried ChickenIf you've wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep-fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana

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Apple Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Apple PieI remember coming home sullen one day because we'd lost a softball game. Grandma, in her wisdom, suggested that maybe a slice of hot apple pie would make me feel better. She was right. —Maggie Greene, Granite Falls, Washington

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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Mashed PotatoesSour cream and cream cheese give richness to these smooth make-ahead potatoes. They are wonderful for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner since there's no last-minute mashing required. —Trudy Vincent, Valles Mines, Missouri

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Bread Pudding with Nutmeg Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Bread PuddingI always make this bread pudding recipe for my dad on his birthday and on holidays. He says it tastes exactly like the bread pudding with nutmeg he enjoyed as a child. —Donna Powell, Montgomery City, Missouri

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Inspired By Golden Corral Country Chicken Fried SteakAs a child, I learned from my grandmother how to make these chicken-fried steaks. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are older, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York

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Inspired By Golden Corral BrowniesI love to use this fudgy brownie recipe when bringing treats to work. When I was growing up, I helped my mother make delicious, hearty meals and these fudgy brownies for our farm family of eight. —Judy Cunningham, Max, North Dakota

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Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Macaroni and CheeseI remember my mother sending me to the store for 15 cents worth of cheese. The butcher would cut off a slice from a gigantic wheel covered with a wax-coated cloth. Mother would then blend that cheese into this tasty dish. Today, the memory of her cooking is like food for my soul. —Phyllis Burkland, Portland, Oregon

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Molasses-Glazed Baby Back Ribs Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Endless Baby Back RibsMy husband grills up his luscious ribs recipe for our family of five at least once a month in the summer. The sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce is the perfect condiment for the moist tender meat. Serve it with other finger-licking foods like corn on the cob. —Kim Braley, Dunedin, Florida

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Inspired By Golden Corral Carrot CakeI entered this yummy, moist cake in a Colorado Outfitters Association dessert contest. My carrot cake with pineapple earned first place! —Cheri Eby, Gunnison, Colorado

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Inspired By Golden Corral Chicken PotpieWhy look for potpie in the frozen food aisle when this easy version tastes much better? The chicken pot pie's crust is so tender and flaky, and underneath you'll find the ultimate comfort food for kids and adults. —Amy Briggs, Gove, Kansas

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Inspired By Golden Corral RollsThese rolls melt in your mouth. I loved them as a child, and I'm happy to make them for my kids because I know I am creating those same wonderful memories my mom made for me! —Gayleen Grote, Battle View, North Dakota

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Banana Pudding Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Banana PuddingI didn’t see my son, Lance Corporal Eric Harris, for more than two years after he enlisted in the Marines after high school. And when I saw him arrive at the airport, I just grabbed hold of him and burst out crying. When we got home, the first thing he ate was two bowls of my easy banana pudding recipe. He’s a true southern boy! It’s a dessert, but you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. —Stephanie Harris, Montpelier, Virginia

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Inspired By Golden Corral Chocolate WonderfallIt's easy to keep the ingredients for this rich fondue on hand in case company drops by. I serve it in punch cups, so guests can carry it on a dessert plate alongside whatever fruit, pretzels and other dippers they like. —Cheryl Arnold, Lake Zurich, Illinois

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Corn Pudding Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Sweet Corn PuddingCornbread mix and canned corn make this southern corn pudding casserole a snap to prepare. Now, this is real comfort food! —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York

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Crispy Beer-Battered Fish Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Beer Battered FishA local restaurant made a similar breading for shrimp po' boys, but we think this version's better. I serve the beer battered fish with a ranch dressing and hot sauce mixture as a dip. —Jenny Wenzel, Gulfport, Mississippi

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Flavorful Pot Roast Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Pot RoastOn hectic days, this is so quick and easy to prep! Convenient packages of dressing and gravy combine to create a sauce worthy of a fall-apart roast. For a filling meal-in-one, serve with mashed potatoes and ladle the juices over top.—Arlene Butler, Ogden, Utah

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Favorite Crab Pasta Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Crab SaladWanda, a lady at work, made this for a party and boy, did it catch on fast! It's especially good for summer picnics and barbecues. —Cheryl Seweryn, Lemont, Illinois

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Taste of Home

Inspired By Golden Corral Garlic Cheese BiscuitsMy biscuits won the prize for best quick bread at my county fair. One of the judges liked them so much, she asked for the recipe! These buttery, savory biscuits go with just about anything. —Gloria Jarrett, Loveland, Ohio

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Inspired By Golden Corral

9 Things You HAVE to Know About Golden Corral (2024)

FAQs

9 Things You HAVE to Know About Golden Corral? ›

Our endless buffet menu offers unmatched variety of quality, made-from-scratch food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With over 150 items to choose from including USDA grilled to order steaks and traditional favorites like pot roast and fried chicken, everyone is sure to find their favorite at Golden Corral.

Is Golden Corral food made from scratch? ›

Our endless buffet menu offers unmatched variety of quality, made-from-scratch food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With over 150 items to choose from including USDA grilled to order steaks and traditional favorites like pot roast and fried chicken, everyone is sure to find their favorite at Golden Corral.

Why is Golden Corral famous? ›

Our great value for a good price makes Golden Corral a favorite family restaurant among adults and kids alike. Golden Corral's unmatched variety accommodates most all nutrition needs such as low carb, vegan, paleo, and plant-based diet plans.

What's the cheapest time to eat at Golden Corral? ›

The cheapest time to eat at Golden Corral is during their lunch hours on weekdays.

What is the busiest day at Golden Corral? ›

Golden Corral customers are much more likely to go out to a restaurant on a Saturday or Sunday compared to the average consumer, Numerator found. This coincides with Sunday, which is one of Golden Corral's busiest days alongside Wednesdays.

What is the lawsuit against Golden Corral? ›

Golden Corral failed to properly secure and safeguard employees' personally identifiable information in the wake of a 2023 data breach, an employee alleged in a class-action lawsuit filed last week.

What cut of beef does Golden Corral use? ›

A tender, juicy, USDA steak for dinner is always a special occasion. At Golden Corral, our signature sirloin steaks are cooked-to-order every night of the week. Enjoy a perfectly grilled steak, just how you like it, along with all the salads, sides and buffet favorites you love.

What is the illness in Golden Corral? ›

In 2012, an outbreak of norovirus was linked to a now closed Golden Corral restaurant in Casper, Wyoming. Over 344 illnesses, with 282 primary cases, were reported by the Wyoming state epidemiologist. The virus got a push from 31 sickened food handlers at the restaurant who mostly kept working their normal shifts.

What did Golden Corral change their name to? ›

Read More. Raleigh, N.C. buffet chain Golden Corral is planning to introduce a new fast-casual restaurant brand, to be called Homeward Kitchen.

Where is the biggest Golden Corral in America? ›

Branson's Golden Corral Buffet is the largest in the world, with a seating capacity of over 650. Our restaurant serves Monday-Friday 10am (close will vary in Branson based on season) and we're open 363 days per year (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Which state has the most Golden Corral? ›

There are 397 Golden Corral restaurants in the United States as of April 03, 2024. The state and territory with the most number of Golden Corral locations in the US is Texas, with 55 restaurants, which is about 14% of all Golden Corral restaurants in the US.

What is the Golden Corral target market? ›

About Golden Corral
Golden Corral Overview
SegmentationFood & beverages restaurants
Target MarketFamilies who enjoy steak and grilled food
PositioningBuffet Style southern American restaurant
6 more rows
Oct 7, 2023

What is the Golden Corral controversy? ›

Through the investigation, Golden Corral learned that an unauthorized actor accessed its systems and acquired certain data relating to current and former employees and beneficiaries between August 11, 2023 until August 15, 2023.

What is Golden Corral meatloaf made of? ›

Golden Corral Meatloaf is a classic American dish that's both comforting and delicious. Inspired by the meatloaf served at Golden Corral restaurants, it's a hearty meal made from ground beef mixed with breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and a mix of savory herbs and spices.

How much does a Golden Corral franchise owner make? ›

Golden Corral pay FAQs

The average salary for a Franchise Owner is $238,618 per year (estimate) in United States, which is 172% higher than the average Golden Corral salary of $87,620 per year (estimate) for this job. What is the salary trajectory of a Franchise Owner?

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