Longest wait for restaurant you've had

Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:21 AM
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Longest wait for restaurant you've had

Just wondering...

The other day my friend and I wanted to try the new "Cheeseburger in Paradise" restaurant that opened up in town. We went on a Saturday night around 8pm or so and my jaw dropped when the hostess told me the wait would be two hours. No restaurant is worth that long a wait. I'm just wondering how long a wait you would endure in any restaurant. What is the longest wait you've had, or are willing to tolerate in a restaurant, either travelling or in your home town.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Mesa Grill in NY. We were seated at 10:30 when we had a reservation for 9:30. It was definitely not worth it.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Dinosaur BBQ- Syracuse,NY 1 hour...absloutley worth every minute of it. If it weren't worth it, there would NEVER be a wait.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:36 AM
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Over ten years ago, my wife and I ate at a restaurant on a cliff high above the bay near Garribaldi, Oregon. We were sitted rather quickly but were forced to wait a half-hour to place our drink order and forty-five minutes to place our meal order. We were finally served our meal about 1 1/2 hours after being sitted. The situation was surreal; the waitress came to our table to apologize about every ten minutes or so and would signal her distress in the direction of the kitchen. I would gather that the restaurant was very poorly managed and is now under new ownership. I forget its name, however.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:41 AM
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I think it depends largely on the location, type of restaurant and how new or trendy it may be.

With reservations I would have different expectations than at a crowded, popular non-reservation type restaurant at prime time on a Saturday night.

I live in NJ suburban area of NYC and everywhere has a 1 hour wait for a table on Saturday night. Nice restaurants right down to Olive Garden and Red Lobster. That is considered normal around here. There are places where the waits are even longer...

IMO It's only unacceptable when you are not properly informed - thus removing your option to go elsewhere.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:47 AM
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I think it was the Grotto in Oakland with my in-laws in the 80s. It was Motherís Day and we had gone to an Oakland As game. We had had a few beers so when they said the wait would be 60 minutes we said ok. Iím sure it was 2 or more hours during which we drank some more. By the time we were seated most of us had had too much to drink to make for an enjoyable dinner. Now that Iím older I wonít even go to a restaurant that doesnít take reservations. There is no food that is worth waiting more than 15 minutes to be seated. Many restaurants love to keep their customers waiting around to be seated which I think is ridiculous since there is another restaurant within walking distance with food that is just as good. We will sit in the bar and eat in many places to avoid waiting for a table.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Years ago I remember my first visit to Joe's Stone Crab in Miami with my parents. My Mother is the sort that won't wait for anything. We waited for almost 2 hrs. It was worth the wait. \/ I'd never had stone crabs before and was hooked. We learned our lesson though and thereafter, tried to go at off hours.

Joe's is still around and as far as I know, they still don't take reservations.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:49 AM
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Just curious....why do people think that a restaurant WANTS their patrons to wait to be seated? As a restaurant owner, I try to seat people as soon as possible - the sooner someone sits at a table and eats, the quicker I can "turn" the table. An empty table makes no $$$$.

But seriously, I have heard this comment from people before, and I don't quite understand the logic.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Trish, I used to visit friends who lived in Red Bank and was always appalled the restaurants didn't take reservations for a Sat. night. What's with that?
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Many years ago I think we waited as long as two hours at an Ethiopian restaurant in D.C.. There were four of us, we sat on the floor and enjoyed the most amazing food from a large, shared bowl--great experience that was worth the wait.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 09:56 AM
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The longest wait is probably about 20 minutes. After that, we simply leave. Neither or us are good at standing in lines. There would have to be no other place withing driving distance for us to stay longer. Twenty minutes gives a person enough time to judge how many are in line and how fast the line is moving.


I feel for the managers that have to please patrons and turn tables at the same time. Sometimes it's impossible to do both. I will gladly let someone else in line take over our spot.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:01 AM
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At the Dinosaur, if it gets too, too busy, they announce a "no camping policy" which means when you finish your meal, please be considerate of customers who are waiting for tables.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Arriving without reservations, I would only wait if informed that the wait was five minutes. Anymore than five minutes usually turns into 15 minutes--or more. Since I live in NYC, there's always another good choice nearby.

Outside NYC, where there may be fewer choices, I'm more willing to wait. It also depends on the friends I'm visiting and their recommendations for the wait.

If I want to be sure to get a table at a particular restaurant, I make a reservation--or eat early!
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:13 AM
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cfntmpn, I don't agree that restuarants want to have their patrons wait either, but the logic behind this idea is that if people stay in the bar, there's more profit from alcohol than from food.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:22 AM
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If a restaurant doesn't have a wait on a Saturday night at 8PM, look for it to be closing soon.

We will not wait more than 15 minutes.

Usually, we just eat at the bar and don't eat at a table.

The seats in the bar area at CIP are first come, first served, you don't have to wait. BTW, the mojitos there are great!
 
Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:26 AM
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I understand that alot of people believe this as well ~ let me shed some light on this theory. Yes, a beer might cost me .85, and I can sell it for $3.50 which is a 400% markup. However, selling 3.50 beer cannot keep my lights on, pay my staff or pay my $20K liability insurance.

Mark-up on food is usually 3x what it costs me - so I will sell a $7 piece of steak for $21-24.

Think about how long it takes to make $24 in beer sales! And, how quickly the $24 will add up versus the profit of alcohol.

Alcohol sales in most restaurants - and I specify RESTAURANTS, not bars, make up only 10% of annual sales. And we like it that way.

I know ALOT of restaurant owners, and all of them scratch their heads when customers come to them with this theory that we would rather sell alcohol then food. We want you to buy off the menu!!!

A bar owner might have one day bragged about how much they made off of a bottle of beer, that is the only reasoning I can think of that this mindset has taken over the general public.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Just as a trivia tidbit, Cheeseburger In Paradise's liquor mix is 48% !

I don't know who you are talking about with a 10% liquor mix but all the restauranteurs I know push for a minimum standard of double that.

You make much more money off liquor than off food. Some restaurants would go out of business with only a 10% liquor mix.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:33 AM
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The longest wait I've put up with was for a Mother's Day brunch. We waited for 45 minutes - with a reservation - before I finally gave up and went elsewhere. And that wasn't all that easy!

It depends on the restaurant and the reason for eating there, but I absolutely won't wait longer than 20 minutes. There's too many other restaurants around to have to sit around waiting for an empty table. Plus, I don't drink alcohol, so the bar is not the most enjoyable place for me to hang out waiting for a table.
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:35 AM
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I'm not sure how anyone would know what% of my business is liquor versus food, unless I told them, but that must be their preference. I have been in business for 11 years, the previous owners 25 years prior to that and that is what the food versus alcohol sales have always been. And we sell ALOT of liquor.

However, we have also been quite successful at doing what we do, so maybe I should just keep this little secret to myself.....
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Old Feb 1st, 2006, 10:46 AM
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When I was in the insurance business we wrote a lot of restaurant/bar policies and every owner told us they made a much bigger profit from the bar than the restaurant. Can't imagine that has changed in most instances except for the fact, at least in California, most people do not sit and drink a lot of alcohol anymore due to the very stringent laws regarding driving while intoxicated (which is a good law).

I generally only go to dinner where I can make reservations. And with reservations I expect to be seated within five minutes. I will not wait more than ten minutes at a restaurant that does not take reservations. If they have a bar area where dinner is served and there is a table I will go to the bar area.

One thing I always do is cancel my reservation at a restaurant if I cannot keep the reservation. So many people do not, and that is so unfair to the restaurant and other patrons that wish to reserve a table.

Regarding, turning the tables; get them in and get them out, is a policy I truly dislike. That is why I generally enjoy dining out in Italy more that here as in Italy when you are seated the table is yours for the evening. And a few restaurants in my area have the same policy. Consequently they are the restaurants I go to.
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