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How Long will you Wait for a Meal before Complaining ?

How Long will you Wait for a Meal before Complaining ?

Old Jan 1, 2009, 8:38 pm
  #1  
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How Long will you Wait for a Meal before Complaining ?

How long will you wait for a meal/course before complaining ?

Generally what do you think is a reasonable maximum wait time ?
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Old Jan 1, 2009, 9:00 pm
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I would only wait 10 minutes tops before a waiter/waitress visited my table! Once I've placed an order? It depends on the establishment. A fine restaurant, I would I begin questioning the waitress after about forty minutes. I would probably become upset after a wait of an hour and forty five minutes. That's just me though!
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 12:48 am
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Generally, I'd say 45 minutes unless it is absolutely jam-packed and the waitstaff is visibly harried.

Anything more than an hour, no matter where you are, is IMHO unacceptable.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 12:52 am
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I have far less patience than most I guess. Unless they're busy, I'll usually only wait about 25-30 minutes.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 1:50 am
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Let me clarify: I would wait 45 minutes for a main dish from the time of order, and this includes the wait for (and consumption of) all starters and bread, etc.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 6:19 am
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To add to this thread, how long will you wait to be acknowledged whether seated by host/hostess or self seated?

For me, I start getting antsy after about 10 minutes. My feeling being that it takes only a second to acknowledge someone's presence and /or deliver a glass of water(water dependent on local customs). Much more than 10 minutes for acknowledgment means that the experience will generally go down hill from there.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by dlflyer2
To add to this thread, how long will you wait to be acknowledged whether seated by host/hostess or self seated?

For me, I start getting antsy after about 10 minutes. My feeling being that it takes only a second to acknowledge someone's presence and /or deliver a glass of water(water dependent on local customs). Much more than 10 minutes for acknowledgment means that the experience will generally go down hill from there.
Ten minutes is my max there. If it's been more than 10 minutes, I'll get up and ask the hostess if we can be reseated, where a server will actually notice us. That usually generates a visit from the manager with an apology, and very good service from that point.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by kipper
Ten minutes is my max there. If it's been more than 10 minutes, I'll get up and ask the hostess if we can be reseated, where a server will actually notice us. That usually generates a visit from the manager with an apology, and very good service from that point.
10 minutes is far too long to wait for the server to acknowledge you and at the very minimum take your drink order. I'd say 5 minutes before I start getting antsy.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 10:25 am
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It all depends on the situation. if it's a dinner with the kid, I'm not happy if we're not seated, served, and finished within an hour TOTAL. If it's a quiet dinner with just my wife and me, then I don't really care as long as we're seated and offered a drink quickly.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 10:37 am
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Yup - dinner with my wife and kids - I'd better be in & out within an hour or so. Granted, I will choose the restaurant with the expectation that they can meet that objective. Obviously we only going to target family-friendly establishments for those meals. If it's just me and my wife, then I'll take a little more laid back approach. As long as I'm seated, drink orders are taken and menus are in our hands within the first few minutes, I'm usually happy. Sometimes I get a "gut feeling" that things are "off" and we'll politely excuse ourselves. Usually that feeling comes when seating, drink orders, appetizer orders, etc. aren't taken in a "reasonable" amount of time, or if I look around the restaurant and a lot of folks don't have any food in front of them and seem to be looking for the waitstaff.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 11:10 am
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For lunch(especially if it's during work), I'd say 20 minutes.
For dinner, 45 minutes. If I had ordered appetizers or a salad, I could give a little slack, but if not, 45 minutes is a long time to sit at a table with no food.

Most chain restaurants have time standards for serving food and they are usually much less than any of the times mentioned in this thread. If it gets to 45 minutes, then either someone screwed up or the kitchen is being poorly run.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by Tifosi
10 minutes is far too long to wait for the server to acknowledge you and at the very minimum take your drink order. I'd say 5 minutes before I start getting antsy.
If they're busy, I'll give them 10 minutes. Five minutes is a little too soon to get antsy--the server can be running a few tables' worth of food or drinks, etc.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 11:48 am
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I'll usually wait up to 10 min to be acknowledged by a server, as long as I'm with others and can kill some time. If I'm dining by myself, I only give it 5 minutes before I start putting up a stink.

As for waiting for meals, the most I'll usually wait is 20-25 min after they've cleared away the previous course. Optimally, I usually like at least 5 min between courses in order to digest/savor. I hate being rushed from course to course because the server completely ignores our dining pace.

(On a side note: I also send back food because it was clear that it'd been sitting in the window too long because the server put in the order too early. I try not to sweat the small stuff, but I won't tolerate soggy/non-crispy fried foods, fallen souffles, gummy/soft creme brulee crusts, meat overcooking under a heat lamp, etc.)
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 12:52 pm
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I'll wait about 30 minutes, maybe 40 depending upon whether the restaurant is busy.

I'm also not shy about getting my own beverage refills if I feel like I'm being ignored. I suppose it comes from growing up in a restaurant.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by MCTUBBS
I'm also not shy about getting my own beverage refills if I feel like I'm being ignored. I suppose it comes from growing up in a restaurant.
There have been times I've considered getting up and getting my own drink refills. In your experiences, how do the servers react to that?
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