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Old 10-18-2008, 05:24 AM   #1
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How long is too long to wait for a table you have reserved for a specific time ?

So, yes, I went out to eat again which means I have another " Oh no, larrry went out to eat story" But before I give the details, we had a reservation for a specific time, 7:30pm on a Friday night for a table of 10. We all arrived on time ( some even earlier) but our table wasn't ready for us. Before I give the details, what does everyone consider a reasonable amount of time to wait for your reserved table ?

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Old 10-18-2008, 05:31 AM   #2
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After 15-20 minutes, I would start to get pretty annoyed. Having said that, I know that large groups usually cause problems for the wait staff at most places I've been to. Nonetheless, a reservation is a reservation. If they can't accomodate large parties without long delays, they shouldn't have taken the reservation in the first place. The worst of it is, they make you wait, screw up your order, then impose a mandatory gratuity. More nerve than a tooth ache!!
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:32 AM   #3
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It probably depends on the situation. You shouldn't have to wait a all. With a manager who is communicative and apologetic and trying to sort it out, maybe half an hour (with something off the bill)
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:01 AM   #4
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Does KFC have a table that holds that many?
(sorry)

15 minutes for me. I am an impatient person. I don't care if they "seat" me in the bar room to wait for my table, unless they are buying me a drik, too. I'm there to sit down now!
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:13 AM   #5
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I have to ask, did you put a deposit down on the table? Most restaurants will make a note of a party that large and avoid seating groups near where a large party will sit unless they are extremely busy. It's difficult to reserve a table for ten if you are unsure the party will show. I would expect to wait until all 10 people are there and then maybe 15 minutes. Table for 10, Friday night, peak time, yeah, I would expect the wait to be substantial unless you paid a non-refundable deposit.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:26 AM   #6
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I think 15 minutes is about the max before I get annoyed. I would choose to wait much longer though depending on how much I wanted to eat there. I might just eat with a scowl on my face though
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:36 AM   #7
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Without knowing the type of establishment or the size of the dining room, my answer is 15 minutes. A party of 10 can be easy to seat or harder than rock climbing during an ice storm. If managed correctly, and assuming most of the tables in the joint are for 2, you have to arrange to have 5 tables finish at approximately the same time. Those tables have to be next to each other, as well. If one of those tables decides to linger, everything is thrown off. If the problem stems from the kitchen, that also can create havoc with the big 10.
7:30 is just a hair before the prime real estate time of 8pm. It shouldn't have been that difficult to get everyone seated on time. Good management probably wouldn't seat anyone at those tables , leaving them set for 10 initially. Not many people go to dinner at 6pm.

All this is speculation, though. I don't know how far in advance you made the reservation, either.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:40 AM   #8
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Everytime I saw a large party come in to an establishment the table was usually ready. However, a last minute change of heart on dessert could cause a 10-15 minute wait.

I never look foward to going out anymore.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
7:30 is just a hair before the prime real estate time of 8pm. It shouldn't have been that difficult to get everyone seated on time. Good management probably wouldn't seat anyone at those tables , leaving them set for 10 initially. Not many people go to dinner at 6pm.

All this is speculation, though. I don't know how far in advance you made the reservation, either.
That's very telling of where you are. Here from 6-7 you can't get a table without a wait. 7 is peak time for dining. By 8 we're rolling up the streets. A lot of places close at 9 and the rest close at 10.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:38 AM   #10
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I think anything past 10 mins makes the whole point of making a reservation mute!
I have delt with the same issue too many times with far less than 10 for our party!
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:14 AM   #11
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As Jerry Seinfeld said...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Seinfeld
You know how to make the reservation, you just don't know how to keep the reservation.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:23 AM   #12
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It depends if I have a cocktail in hand or not. And it depends who the crowd is. Family & friends = 30 minutes. Business or co-workers = 15, and I'd start raising a stink. Also it depends on if I knew the food was good or just mediocre.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:55 AM   #13
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I say a party that big the table should be ready and waiting especially if it's on a week night after that no more than 15 minutes. What if you were planning to go to a movie etc and the table is late that makes you late to go to that movie. So instead of having a nice relaxing evening you are stressed over the timing of your evening which is no fun at all.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:07 AM   #14
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Depends on the restaurant and their policy, etc.
But in general, I'd say 15-20 minutes. Any longer and I would
expect free drinks or dessert or something.

Course, with today's ME ME ME society, I can't blame a restaurant for
not trusting a large reservation to show up, either. If I had a choice
between the bird in the hand or the 10 that MIGHT show up, well.....
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:15 AM   #15
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Unless you've been a restaurant manager, hostess or wait staff, it's difficult to understand why a table isn't ready for a party of ten especially on a weekend night at exactly the time specified. It's impossible to determine with any accuracy just how long it will take tables to empty out so the staff can put a table for 10 together.

A reservation, in my opinion, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a table at 7:30 on the dot. Give the restaurant staff a break on this one. Fifteen minutes should be the max but circumstances could warrant a few more minutes.

I would like to see a post from someone who has worked a restaurant so we can get a view of what it may be like on the other side of this problem.
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DramaQueen View Post
Unless you've been a restaurant manager, hostess or wait staff, it's difficult to understand why a table isn't ready for a party of ten especially on a weekend night at exactly the time specified. It's impossible to determine with any accuracy just how long it will take tables to empty out so the staff can put a table for 10 together.

A reservation, in my opinion, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a table at 7:30 on the dot. Give the restaurant staff a break on this one. Fifteen minutes should be the max but circumstances could warrant a few more minutes.

I would like to see a post from someone who has worked a restaurant so we can get a view of what it may be like on the other side of this problem.
It is not up to the patron to understand the restaurant business. It is up to the restaurant to understand their customers. If I make a reservation for 7pm then I expect to be seated at 7pm. That is the purpose of a reservation. If the restaurant can not accommodate that then when you make the reservation they should say something along the lines of "We will seat you as close to 7pm as possible, but depending on xyz it could be as late as xyz. Either that or the restaurant should not accept reservations.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:44 PM   #17
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Sounds reasonable, GB. I think you have it spot on.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:54 PM   #18
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I wouldn't give it more than 15 minutes. I feel the same as GB, the purpose of the reservation was to ensure you would get seated at a certain time. I have gone into plenty of restaurants where I didn't have reservations, and could see tables empty with a reserved sign on them. I would guess that restaurant knew how to keep a reservation.
But, I would still give them some time, as there is always the possibility they seated someone at your reserved table based on a time table that said they should be done and gone before your reserved time. Its an educated guess on their part, so it doesn't surprise me if sometimes they stay longer and you end up waiting for a short period for your table.
A short to no wait on a reservation to me is a sign of an experienced hostess, manager, etc.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:02 PM   #19
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20 minutes, so, what happened??
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #20
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So, I'm still waiting for Larry to tell us about his experience. I'm not an "Oh no, Larry." Tell us what happened.
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