Advice

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?


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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.