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Waiting for a table - what's your limit?

Mine is in steady decline... and I live in New Orleans, a city of wonderful food. I've just discovered that any wait of over a half hour or so (at a place that doesn't accept reservations) is almost never worth it to me.

I try to patronize places for lunch instead, if I love the food, but standing in line just almost never seems justified. I'll get all kinds of "exceptions" thrown at me, I know, and I'd be more willing to do that - or wait even with a reservation - for a truly stellar restaurant experience with a cuisine I can't get here... but I'm just less patient and a better home cook than I used to be, I guess.

What's your limit?

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  1. My patience has declined approximately 10 minutes per decade since I turned 30....
    1 hour at 30
    50 minutes at 40
    40 minutes at 50
    30 minutes as I approach 60

    and...at most places I won't even get out of the car if i see a line..............

    There are too many choices and in this bad economy no need for long waits. I don't often drink, so I'm not interested in a wait in the bar (often used evem when the table is ready to up the establishment's profit margin).

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      Your timetable is spot on. As I approach 50, 40 minutes is about it. The longer the wait, the higher my expectations, and high expectations are never a good idea.

    2. 20 minutes, unless there's a bar where one can be seated and drink til the table opens up. Then probably 45 min.

      1. I don''t have much patience anymore....but I get more patience if I can sip some wine while I wait.

        30 minutes max.

        1. I'm the person in your group that says, "Let's go somewhere else."

          0 minutes if I'm alone.
          15 minutes if in a group and word is the place is great.
          30 minutes if in a group and someone in the group knows the place is great.

          1 Reply
          1. For me, it's a That depends. Why am I hear? Do I "really" want to taste this? That adds + to my waitablity. People with me, since I do not take folks with me to a place I have never tried, no issue. If I am the guest then the hostess/host of the party decides, unless I know them really well. Then I start whispering ""Is this wait worth it?"

            Mainly I watch the floor and the hostess/host of the room. If I see service is going well and front of the house is handling it well, I wait. But if I see incompetence, exit to the door is rather rapid.