CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Restaurant Wait Times Skyrocket, And Customers May Be To Blame

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — The average time diners spent at their table at one New York restaurant doubled in the past decade.

While it is only one restaurant, the reasons for the increased time could apply to just about any sit-down establishment, regardless if it was New York, Chicago or Des Moines.

It appears that the fault is with the customers and the way they behave.

With their mobile phones.

The unnamed New York restaurant posted results from its analysis of customer behavior on Craigslist.

The owners were prompted to do the study after they noticed several negative online reviews that focused on long wait times and poor service.

They compared surveillance tape from July 2004 and July 2014.

Here is what they found:

In 2004, patrons are seated and are given menus. Out of 45 tables 3 requested to be seated elsewhere. In 2014, out of 45 tables 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.

In 2004, customers on average spent eight minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order. Waiters show up almost instantly.

In 2014, before even opening the menu customers take out their phones to check them. Some take photos, while others are presumably checking email, texts or an app.

In seven cases, a waiter is asked to come over right away. The customers need help accessing the restaurants Wi-Fi, which takes about five minutes of a waiter’s time.

The customers spend more time looking at their phones, while glancing at the menus.

The average time before customers are ready to order is 21 minutes.

Once the food arrives, nearly half of the tables are taking pictures of their food.

That takes on average about three minutes.

More photos are taken. In many cases, the waiter is asked to take a group photo, taking up their time to attend to other tables.

“Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more [than in 2004] from when they were done eating until they requested a check,” according to the post on Craigslist. “Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.”

In 2004, the average dining time was just over one hour.

In 2014, it ballooned to nearly two hours.

“We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?”

Translated: Put your phone down!

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