Smartphones to blame for 77% increase in dining time at one restaurant?

Smartphones to blame for 77% increase in dining time at one restaurant?
A restaurant in New York City realized that it was getting poor reviews on Yelp about the speed of service in the eatery. Customers also complained about how long they had to wait for a table. A consultant hired by the restaurant suggested that it compare a service from years ago to a current one, in an attempt to find the problem. It just so happens that the restaurant used a high-speed surveillance system years ago, and was able to find a dinner service dated July 1 2004. This was compared with a service from July 3rd, 2014, almost ten years ago to the day.

Comparing the two videos, the earlier one shows customers spending eight minutes with the menu, closing them to signal that they are ready for the waiter. Sure enough, a waiter comes right away to take the order. The food comes within six minutes. After eating, the check arrives. Five minutes later, the check is paid and the diners are gone. Total time was 1 hour and five minutes.

The 2014 diners come in to the restaurant, and once seated, they are busy taking pictures with their phones, or using their handsets for something else. Some did ask the waiter over, but only to spend five minutes discussing the restaurant's Wi-Fi service. When the waiter comes over to take the order, most diners aren't ready. They open up the menu, but are still looking at their phones. On average, it takes 21 minutes from the time the customer is seated, to the time that they order.

While the food gets delivered in the same six minutes as it did ten years ago, 26 out of 45 customers spend three minutes snapping pictures of their food using the camera on their phone. 14 out of 45 snap pictures of each other posing with their food, or while eating it. This takes four minutes as reviews are typed, and pictures retaken. 9 out of 45 complain that their food is too cold (obviously because the diners were playing around with their phones) and 27 out of 45 ask the waiter to take a group picture. Paying the check and leaving took 15 minutes longer than it did ten years ago, and the average time to complete the meal was 1 hour and 55 minutes.

In 10 years, the average meal has taken 77% longer to complete. Obviously, a lot of the blame is being placed on smartphones and the people who feel compelled to share every meal with their friends and family via social media. Are you one of those people responsible for today's longer dining times?

source: SFGlobe via BGR



1. Busyboy unregistered

A lot of restaurants are now implementing time restrictions on meals around my area.

3. Tizen007

Posts: 575; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

lol. What happens if you didn't finish your meal?

5. Busyboy unregistered

They usually give 30 min to an hour depending on the amount of people waiting. So that should be more than enough time to eat

8. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I wonder if actual "eating" time lengthened due to texting and other activities.

7. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

No doubt, although at least in NYC, we saw restaurants begin implementing such restrictions in the '90s to increase the number of turns at lunch and dinner. We may see wider application of the practice if this is typical behavior.

10. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

Most restaurants have always had time limits, long before the cellphone, they would shoo out folks who sat and chatted over coffee well after they were done with their meal. Not only because someone else might be waiting, but servers don't usually get more tips just because people are there longer.

2. na7noo7

Posts: 278; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

This is a reason I leave my phone in my pocket instead of just going on the Restraunt's WiFi then browse PA for a bit then browse my Instagram feed then go on snapchat and when the waiter comes I don't always say: "let me take a selfie, #attherestraunt"

4. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Yeah, that is a bit ridiculous. I guess that is one good thing about living in a backwater town. I would hate to have to deal with morons who were at a restaurant taking selfies, pictures of the menu and their food, then uploading those to every social media outlet.

6. bucky

Posts: 3785; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I like how this being brought out in the open. Phones should be put away when you're at a restaurant.

9. bob_monkeywarts unregistered

People know what food looks like. Don't make it harder for people to read your Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus and whatever you use by putting pictures of your Big Mac online.

11. wax33

Posts: 45; Member since: Apr 06, 2014

That must be some exquisite food. Otherwise the customers wouldn't bother to take pics. So it's still the restaurant's fault. :p

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