Terrible restaurant service is because of you and your cell phone !

Bad restaurant service is because of your cell phone !

Have you noticed that the level of service has deteriorated in restaurants? Especially restaurants that have been in business for many years? Many factors are to blame such as poorly trained staff, badly organised kitchen, poor managements but in fact YOU are the cause of the bad service !

Yes, the customer is the reason it takes so long to get a table and so long to get a waiter’s attention.

A New York restaurant busy restaurant noticed that they were not turning over as many tables as they used to. Customers were complaining that the service is slow and the wait is too long. Naturally the restaurant owners looked at their waiters and kitchen staff. However, even with improvements and changes, the same “long wait” complaints kept appearing on Craigslist.

The restaurant owners turned to technology to try get to the root of the problem. A consulting firm recommended that they review the surveillance tapes from the past before the complaints started and compare them to the surveillance tapes of today.

The results were  posted anonymously onto Craigslist but do provide some insights into today’s foodie mind-set:


In 2004:

  • Customers walk in.
  • They gets seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.
  • Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.
  • Waiters shows up almost instantly takes the order.
  • Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes, obviously the more complex items take way longer.
  • Out of 45 customers 2 sent items back that where too cold we assume (given they were not steak we assume they wanted the item heated up more).
  • Waiters keep an eye out for their tables so they can respond quickly if the customer needs something.
  • Customers are done, check delivered, and within 5 minutes they leave.
  • Average time from start to finish: 1:05

In 2014:

  • Customers walk in.
  • Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.
  • Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their phone (sorry we have no clue what they are doing and do not monitor customer WIFI activity).
  • 7 out of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, they showed them something on their phone and spent an average of 5 minutes of the waiter’s time. Given this is recent footage, we asked the waiters about this and they explained those customers had a problem connecting to the WIFI and demanded the waiters try to help them.
  • Finally the waiters are walking over to the table to see what the customers would like to order. The majority have not even opened the menu and ask the waiter to wait a bit.
  • Customer opens the menu, places their hands holding their phones on top of it and continue doing whatever on their phone.
  • Waiter returns to see if they are ready to order or have any questions. The customer asks for more time.
  • Finally they are ready to order.
  • Total average time from when the customer was seated until they placed their order 21 minutes.
  • Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes, obviously the more complex items take way longer.
  • 26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.
  • 14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.
  • 9 out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat. Obviously if they didn’t pause to do whatever on their phone the food wouldn’t have gotten cold.
  • 27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo. 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chitchatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.
  • Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.
  • 8 out of 45 customers bumped into other customers or in one case a waiter (texting while walking) as they were either walking in or out of the Restaurant.
  • Average time from start to finish: 1:55

The post on Craigslist ends with:

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?

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter

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