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Jun 18, 2008 05:45 AM

How long should you wait..?

I was wondering how other people feel about waiting to be seated in a restaurant
where you have a confirmed reservation and your party has arrived on time?
What exactly is perfectly acceptable? 5 minutes? 10, 15, 20, or longer?
What do you do when your table is just not available...??? I myself, get quite
angry and this really puts a damper on the entire dining experience. Am I over-reacting
or what? Thoughts??/

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  1. I had reservations for two of us.... were taken to a table for 8. I said unacceptable ...hostess said we could wait at the eight top until a smaller table became available. I said we can wait at the bar and you can buy the drinks... she said alright.
    Usually 15 minutes will put a big damper on my dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaylhorner

      15 minutes is acceptable, 30 minutes is annoying.

      Depends on how much I want to eat at the restaurant and how attentive the hostess is while I am waiting.

      No, you're not over-reacting.

    2. Too many restaurants are falling into the Sienfeld service problem...they know how to take the reservation, but they don't know how to hold the reservation. Either they don't train their people properly or they just get greedy. After 15 mins., I start to get really annoyed.

      1. For me it depends on a number of factors....the day & time of the reservation, the number in our party in ratio to the capacity, how honest they are about the wait, and the popularity/style of the restaurant in general. I'm good at waiting. And it pays off...being nice to the hostess and understanding has always gotten us better service than when someone is demanding about an unfortunate situation. What I hate is being lied to (if the wait is 30 minutes, okie dokie, but don't tell me it's 10 or don't tell me our table is waiting for the check and should be leaving soon if they are still on their entrees) and even more being with a group of complainers. We often go to dinner with friends on Friday night (group size 8-10 people), to popular places and one couple always complains about the wait if it's 2 minutes or more and I have stopped included them because, quite frankly, I don't want to hear it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          I guess the problem with us is that we are HUNGRY and don't want to waste time (and sometimes calories) waiting for our table. Unless there are extenuating circumstances I don't want to wait 30 minutes. Unless I am with people I haven't seen in ages, I don't want to hang out in the bar, I don't want to down a couple of drinks or snack on apps while waiting. I want to have my wine with dinner and eat normally. What's wrong with that?

          1. re: lattelover

            Nothing is wrong with that, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. As long as everyone involved is honest and doing their best, I have no issue with it.
            And if waiting is such an issue for people, plan such events at non-peak times, at non-peak places at those times, etc. But if you (general) go to the place that is always slammed on Friday and Saturday night (or Sunday brunch or whatever the case may be), with a large party at a peak time, then don't be surprised if you have to wait.

            One local place we love to go with a group, is always slammed on Friday and Saturday nights. We know if we go at that time we'll most likely be waiting a while, even with a reservation. If we don't want to go through that, we'll go on Sunday or Monday night instead.

        2. I think after 15 minutes I'd start to get ticked off unless the hosts apologized or acknowledged us to demonstrate that we weren't forgotten. If we were ignored (like a group of us were at Rocking Horse Cafe in NYC, waiting for over 1 hour after our reservation time and then the nerve of the hostess asking us if we were tourists as we were seated), I don't find it acceptable. btw, nobody apologized, comped us anything and the food was really mediocre (and I'm not just saying this because I was pissed).

          1. Twelve years ago at Spago in Las Vegas, I had the best experience. Was in town on business with 4 coworkers. Wandered into Spago with no reservation and asked if they could seat a party of 5. They said they could, in 20 minutes. We gave our name and wandered around the Forum, then returned in about 18 minutes. No table was ready yet. We were fine to wait - nobody was irritated (or irritating). None of us was interested in a drink, so we just hung around the entrance. The hostess apologized for the delay and we said it was OK. As we were seated, the waitstaff immediately brought out an appetizer pizza, complimentary, since they had kept us waiting an extra 10 minutes or so. The food was great and the service was great.

            Last January, I was at a buffet-style restaurant is Disney World. We had a reservation to carbo load for the marathon. 1 hour later, we were still waiting. Mary's insulin had kicked in and we were told it was OK to go to the buffet and get her a plate to eat in the hotel lobby while we waited. When we were finally seated, service was fine. But to wait more than 1 hour for a reservation is crazy. By that time, we were stuck, since it was 6:30 the night before 24,000 people were running a race and we would not have been able to get our party in anywhere before 10.