How inflation has changed customer experience at Gen KBBQ House

Cajun shrimps and cuts of pork belly on Gen’s table grill. Photo by Trina Vu.

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — As a staple restaurant for beginner Korean barbeque lovers, Gen KBBQ House offers an all-you-can-eat menu consisting of premium meats. How does this restaurant profit by operating on an all-you-can-eat menu in the rising economic demands of San Jose? How does it change the experience of eating here?

Gen KBBQ House currently charges $27.95 for the dinner menu and $19.95 for the lunch menu per person. The price has maintained stability, staying the same since the beginning of 2022. Nearly six years ago, the price for the dinner menu was $24.99. This is an 11% increase, which isn’t so bad for an inflation rate over six years in San Jose. 

Inflation, the general increase in prices of goods in an economy, is very common in the Bay Area. San Jose, which lies in the top 0.6% most expensive cities in the world, most particularly experiences inflation.

Considering Gen has only raised their prices several dollars higher over six years, it can be categorized as a cost-efficient place to eat for large groups. However, producing a better image as an “affordable” AYCE Korean barbeque restaurant risks the experience of customers.

I recently ate out at Gen KBBQ for a family dinner of eight people. It was my first time eating here in two years, the last time prior to quarantine. The atmosphere of the restaurant is almost club-like. It’s extremely “instagrammable” and has a blue LED light theme all around. Gen is a bustling restaurant with a long waitlist for tables and vibrant scenery.

Upon seeing the menu, I was extremely excited to eat and order meats like the premium steak, calamari steak, and cajun shrimp. When it came out, the first round of meats was enjoyable. Everything was well seasoned and service was fast. 

Rice, cucumber kimchi, cabbage kimchi, and lettuce waiting to be accompanied with grilled meat. Photo by Trina Vu.
Rice, pork, and kimchi in a radish wrap. A cajun shrimp is on the grill. Photo by Trina Vu.

However, as my family ordered the second round of different meats, we found that many of the options were “out of stock.” I also realized that the restaurant had removed several meats from the menu, like the miso pork belly and white wine pork steak. Waiters would also seem to delay bringing out certain meats until after another round was called, possibly to prevent us from ordering too much. 

A comparison of a photo of the calamari frits from the menu and a photo of them ordered. Left photo of GEN KOREAN BBQ HOUSE’s menu by Trina Vu. Right photo by Trina Vu.

Despite some differences in the menu and photos, the food was delicious. Gen seasons their meats well and are even better when paired with the green tea salt, sesame oil, or brisket sauce. Silver Creek freshman Jasmine Sessoms recalled her experience at Gen, saying “it was really good! The service is quick and I love the environment there.”

Eating out at Gen KBBQ House is definitely a restaurant everyone should experience at least once. It’s a great place to consider, especially for students looking to treat themselves after the stressful measures of exams coming up. 

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