If you think people take more food than normal when they're at a buffet, you're right. And if you think they also waste more of it, you're right again.
"Unfortunately, waste is the nature of a buffet," said Tim Abrams, the food and beverage director at the Aquarius Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev. He estimates the waste ratio is one to one -- meaning that for every pound of food eaten, another pound is wasted.
Abrams speaks from experience; the hotel's Windows on the River Buffet serves several thousand people a day. On a busy Saturday night, it serves 2,600 people and goes through 800 pounds of crab legs. Soups are prepared 500 gallons at a time, and the gigantic oven bakes 165 cheesecakes at a time.
Nevada's gambling-town buffets have evolved since the early 1940s, when the owner of the El Rancho Vegas Hotel dreamed up a $1 all-you-can-eat midnight buffet to keep customers in the casino into the wee hours.