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Sep 5, 2011 05:54 PM

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?


Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

  1. I'm sure many will disagree, but I think if a restaurant is open, it is open. If the sign says open until 10, I should be able to go in at 9:45 and get proper service. If the restaurant doesn't want people coming in that late they need to adjust their signs. One restaurant near me doesn't post closing time, but instead a "last seating" time, which I think is much nicer.

    That said, if I do go in near closing I won't linger - I eat and leave.

    14 Replies
    1. re: CanadaGirl

      Good point but I disagree. I would go in just for the drinks but I'm not ordering a steak or anything.

      1. re: cookedfood

        Why not? If a restaurant is open, they should be open. If they are closed, then that is fine too, but not if they list themselves as open, and seat patrons.

        Is there some sort of one hour grace period, when all restaurants are open, but not really, and I missed the memo?


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          So if a restaurant closes at 11, you feel no qualms about coming in at 10:50 for a sit-down meal? Really?

          My rule of thumb in a situation like this is "can I be done within about 10 minutes of their posted closing time?" If not, I won't go in. I'd feel like a jerk making the staff stay late on my account.

            1. re: LeoLioness

              +1. Even if I did I'd expect friendly, competent service, but not necessarily GREAT service. I don't think I ever expect great service, good wil do just fine.

              1. re: EWSflash

                I'm pretty much like you.....I'm just happy and grateful to be served....anytime during open hours......

                BTW. all these posters who expect GREAT service. Can you please explain to me what great service means to you?

                For me great service is ordering, or asking, for something and it arriving without delay

                I order a comes out to the table
                I order my comes out to the table.
                I ask for a comes to the table.

                You get the idea.

                What exactly is everyone expecting?

                1. re: fourunder

                  I usually tips 18-20% unless he is a bad server. but i never tips anyone under 15%. Unless he/she piss me off.

                  What is a bad server,
                  My water is almost empty and they wont come to fill it up,

                  Take forever for my check to come.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    > BTW. all these posters who expect GREAT service.
                    > Can you please explain to me what great service means to you?

                    This could be a whole topic by itself. Remember in the 90's when companies like IBM distinguished between mere customer satisfaction and "delighting" a customer?

                    I had that experience of being delighted recently. I told everyone I know, posted the story on my Yelp review, and even went back to test the individual to see if it was a one-off or if he was truly extraordinary (he is... he's some kind of service savant).

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Sounds good to me; or maybe I should say "great"

                    2. re: EWSflash

                      i may not sit down for a complete meal, but please don't start vacuuming or sweeping while i'm still at the table!

              2. re: CanadaGirl


                My feelings exactly. I do not recall any tenant that specifies that if a restaurant closes at 11:00PM,t hen no one can enter after 10:15PM. If they wish to close earlier, just do so. They set the hours, so stick with them.


                    1. re: huiray

                      So sorry. Spell Check did not flag that. Fortunately, you are around to do so.



                1. Yes. Same as 15 minutes after they open.

                  1. I agree with CanadaGirl, if a restaurant is open, it is OPEN! There is NO excuse for bad service. When I worked in the college food service, it was all you can eat buffet style. It totally (insert expletive here) me off when the salad bar worker would start closing out the salad bar 30 minutes BEFORE the end of service!! Unfortunately I was in no position to do anything about it, but I let my feelings on the subject be known.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      Remembering my college experiences as a waitress in a popular Italian restaurant I'd say you are right, of course. However, (big however) there are the inescapable practical realities. !) Everyone, despite their best intentions, is tired and 2) a lot of the best stuff is going to be gone. You'll have to deal with that. Bad service is never acceptable but expecting a primo experience -- if you're not in a top scale eatery -- is asking to be disappointed. Make your reservation well ahead at a reasonable time if you want the best odds on the best experience.

                      So, go at 15 minutes to closing time if that's what you need or want to do but do it with your eyes open and a sense of empathy for people who have been on their feet and in and out -- or in all night -- of a hot kitchen for 6 hours or more. They may *want* to give your their best but it's their end of the shift best and that's merely human limits.

                      OTOH, show some good humor and appreciation to someone who hasn't seen much of it that day and you could give them the second wind that means really personal service and a level of care in food prep that wasn't possible when they were doing half a dozen things at once.

                      1. re: rainey

                        As a teacher I'm on my feet all day long as well. So while I can absolutely sympathize, if my boss walked in on me 5 minutes before my last class ended and I was starting to "pack it in", I would get chewed out... and rightly so.

                        1. re: NicoleFriedman

                          Yep. Just as I get after students who start to pack up with 5 minutes to go. Class isn't over until it's over :)

                          1. re: CanadaGirl

                            The question for the teachers: Do you start something NEW 5 minutes before the end of class? If not, why not? Just curious.

                            1. re: bobbert

                              the only activity I'd start at that point is a "filler" -- something fun that still involves learning or using some skill from the day, that fills the extra few minutes at the end of class.

                              Something involved, like present continuous verb forms? No stinkin' way.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                So to translate into restaurant terms, would it be fair to say : maybe a slice of pie and a cup of coffee but no way a full course meal?

                                1. re: bobbert

                                  yep -- or a sandwich, or an order of fries...but not the whole thing.

                                  Whatever someone is still able to deal with after the rest of the class.

                              2. re: bobbert

                                I will definitely begin something new with 5 minutes left. A lot can get done in that time.

                              3. re: CanadaGirl

                                Does teacher need half hour to pack up after the student left?

                                1. re: Aznmask

                                  nope - the teacher needs to clear out in 5 minutes or less, because the next teacher is coming in the door any second now.

                        2. If a restaurant is open and is taking food orders, the service should be the same no matter what time it is.

                          I specify that they must still be taking food orders as I worked at a pub that was open until quite late but last food orders had to be taken before 9pm.

                          1. Of course. However, I'd also expect to hear some extra clatter and chatter from the crew turning things down (in a light manner).