Skip to main content

Are Smartphone Users To Blame For Slowed Down Restaurant Service Over Last 10 Years?

A manager at a popular restaurant in New York City claims he knows why table service has slowed down over the last decade.

The Meta Picture notes that the restaurant, located at Midtown East Manhattan and serving “both locals and tourists alike,” began getting bad reviews despite serving the same number of people every day, so they decided to investigate.

In a post on Craigslist’s “rants & raves” board, the manager claims that his restaurant compared surveillance footage from 2004 to footage from earlier this month, and the findings are startling.

Here’s the anonymous post:

Image placeholder title


Customers walk in.

They get seated and are given menus; out of 45 customers, 3 request to be seated elsewhere.

Customers on average spend eight minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.

Waiters show up almost instantly and take the order.

Appetizers are fired within six minutes; obviously, the more complex items take longer.

Out of 45 customers, two sent items back.

Waiters keep an eye out for their tables so they can respond quickly if the Customer needs something.

After guests are done, the check is delivered and within five minutes they leave.

Average time from start to finish, 1 hour 5 minutes.


Customers walk in.

Customers get seated and are 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.)

Seven of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, they showed them something on their phone and spent an average of five 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 walk 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 was 21 minutes.

Food starts getting delivered within six 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 four minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

Nine 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 chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another five minutes and obviously caused the waiter to not 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 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.

Eight 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 hour 55 minutes.

We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out here, but can you please be a bit more considerate?

Even if this particular instance is not true, nobody wants to be at a table surrounded by people who are too busy with posting “food selfies” on Instagram and scrolling through Twitter to interact with you.

One takeaway: technology is encroaching on every aspect of life that we ignore the people around us and relationships with them are adversely affected because of it.

Sources: Independent Journal ReviewThe Meta Picture, Craigslist - Rants & Raves

Top photo via Flickr/Christopher Cotrell


Popular Video