CAMPERS: WHEN SHOULD YOU LEAVE A RESTAURANT?

Are you a “restaurant camper”? Do you go out to dinner and then spend hours sitting at the table chatting? Restaurants should never rush guests to finish their meal, but guests should be aware of the impact their stay has on the staff and other diners. The fewer tables the restaurant turns over, the less revenue the business generates. “When you receive the receipt, you should leave,” says Monica Lewis from the Monica Lewis School Of Etiquette. “You shouldn’t stay no more than 15 to 20 minutes after the receipt.” Also, it’s important to be clear at the beginning of the meal how the ticket will be split, to make things easy on the wait staff. At the very most, be prepared to leave the restaurant after an hour and a half. On average, meals should last 45 to 90 minutes. “You shouldn’t wait until the server asks you a question like, ‘Do you need anything else?’,” says Darian Lewis from the Monica Lewis School Of Etiquette. “You want to pay attention to those cues the servers are giving you.” Staying past your welcome not only hurts the restaurant financially, but the servers in particular. “It really affects the way they make their money,” says Brandi Bowie, co-owner of the Taste Bar + Kitchen with her husband Don. “They live off those tips, so you want to turn and burn those tables.” As a restaurant owner, losing wait staff can be a problem if your atmosphere is too welcoming. Guests staying too long can mean servers quit to go to other restaurants that have quicker turnover. At the end of the day, enjoy your meal and tip well, but be courteous to restaurant owners and wait staff.

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