Ask the Editor: Is the Restaurant Host Lying to Me About the Wait Time?

The host told me that it will be an hour wait for a table. But will it really be an hour wait?

Getty Images

Wait times at restaurants are never as long as the host says. Do they lie?

—Gina in Whitman

Philly Mag food editor Alex Tewfik

So many factors go into guesstimating a wait time: turn times (a brunch turn — eggs are quick to cook and eat — is faster than a dinner turn), mapping the dining room correctly, understanding how tables are eating. (Oh, the first date at Table 23 ordered a second bottle? That’s another 45 minutes, easy.)

But it’s a safe overestimation, so they’re not starting your dining experience off on the wrong foot. When they tell you an hour, it could very well be exactly that — but trust me, if they can seat you faster, they will. And often, that’s exactly what will happen, so don’t let a quote deter you, because getting your party seated sooner means more money for them later.