Why is restaurant service so slow these days? Maybe it’s your smartphone


If you’ve ever complained that the service at your favorite restaurant has gotten unbearably slow in recent years, you might want to think twice before blaming the restaurant itself. They may not be at all at fault, while the real culprits go unpunished. What culprits, you ask? You and your smartphone, sure.

An article on Craigslist this weekend detailed a New York restaurant’s efforts in Midtown East to determine exactly why their service had slowed down so much, despite a number of methods employed to shorten it. It wasn’t until security footage from 10 years ago was discovered and compared to today’s footage that it was able to determine the cause. In short: we are all addicted to our phones. The Craigslist post has since been deleted (we’ll get to that in a minute), but Distract managed to hang the text before it fell. You can read everything there; here are some highlights:

In 2004:

  • Only three out of 45 customers requested to be seated elsewhere.
  • Customers only took eight minutes to go through the menu, closing it when they decided what they wanted to indicate they were ready to order.
  • Only two out of 45 customers returned food after it was released.
  • Customers left within five minutes of payment of the check.
  • Average time for the meal: One hour, five minutes.

In 2014:

  • 18 out of 45 customers requested to be seated elsewhere.
  • Before customers even opened the menus, they pulled out their phones, tried to connect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi, had problems, and in 7 out of 45 cases, called the waiter and asked for help.
  • When the waiter actually stopped to take their orders, customers hadn’t even opened their menus yet. Even when they finally opened their menus, they didn’t look at them; they continued to take care of their phones.
  • After the dish was taken out, 26 out of 45 customers spent an average of three minutes photographing it.
  • Nine out of 45 customers returned food (it had probably been cold while they were taking pictures).
  • The customers left 20 minutes after the check was settled.
  • Average time for the meal: One hour, 55 minutes.

According to this restaurant, smartphone use has added almost a time the total duration of the meal. And that’s not even all the phone activity that customers have engaged in. I think I speak for all of us when I say: Ouch.

Here’s the problem: It’s possible that the original message was a hoax. As interesting, entertaining, and plausible as I found it when I first read it, my shit alarm was also running at full capacity; I mean, this is Craigslist we’re talking about here. Additionally, the fact that the post has since been deleted indicates that there was something that was not entirely solid about it. I would bet real money, not digital, that this was well-written, thoughtfully thought-out creative text by a frustrated restaurant worker or a tired customer.

That said, however, it’s generally true that we’re both chained to our phones these days. So here’s a challenge for you: the next time you go to a restaurant, make sure everyone leaves their phones in their pockets, unless they are expecting an extremely important event, the fate of the day. ‘universe. depends on the phone call. Not only will you spend less time waiting, but you’ll probably have a lot more fun: Recently published research has shown that just the presence of a smartphone dramatically decreases the quality of IRL conversations. The fact that it confirms the findings of a 2013 lab study in real-world scenarios gives the research even more weight. Hanging out with a group of friends and ignoring them in favor of your phone defeats the purpose of dating in the first place.

Ah, and also? Don’t ask to be reinstalled unless there is actually a huge problem with your original table. Seriously. There is no need.

Pictures: Giphy


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