Social Question

RandomMrAdam's avatar

What's the proper etiquette when waiting for a table at a restaurant with friends?

Asked by RandomMrAdam (1640 points ) February 14th, 2014

We had a group of friends scheduled to meet up at a restaurant around 7:00pm for drinks and dinner. I showed up first around 6:45pm to put our group name in (previously had tried calling, however they couldn’t take reservations for a party our size). I was told it would be an hour and a half wait until we get a table.

At 7:00pm, one of the friends arrive with his girlfriend and I tell them that I was told it would be an hour and a half wait. The friend responded to me, “Oh, well then we’re going to go pick something up at the mall, give me a text if you guys get seated before we get back” And I reply “What? Why?” and the GF says “Well its an hour and a half wait” which gave me the impression that they considered their time more valuable than ours (why should they wait since we were going to have to be waiting there anyway).

Now this is a restaurant where you can simply go to the bar order a drink and stand around and wait for your table, so I thought it would be courteous to simply all wait as a group.

I consider their actions disrepectful and the tone they replied to me with rathy snarky with a condescending undertone. But maybe I read it wrong.

Am I out of line thinking that they simply acted rude? They don’t think there was anything wrong with it since we were waiting there anyway.

Thoughts?

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14 Answers

RandomMrAdam's avatar

Let me also preface this with this fact: The original plans was to go bowling. However the plans were changed to drinks and dinner because the two people that showed up and didnt want to wait would rather have gotten drinks and dinner because they didn’t want to bowl; thus we compromised.

Juels's avatar

They should have asked if you minded them running an errand. Otherwise, it was rude to assume that you didn’t mind waiting.

marinelife's avatar

It is quite rude, but I would have chosen as a group to go elsewhere.

JLeslie's avatar

It depends on a few things. Is the restaurant at the mall? If it is it wouldn’t bother me, although I think they should have invited you to shop with them. The tricky part is you. Said a group, so I guess you were sill waiting for multiple people to show up. With an hour and a half wait I would text everyone and let them know it would be an hour until we could be seate; again, if the mall is right there.

zenvelo's avatar

I wouldn’t ever assume somebody had to stand around and drink. You could have gone and done something with them. Sounds to me like thy had planned to pick up something after dinner, but with the wait that would be too late for them to get what the wanted.

This whole evening sounds a little mis-planned. Where were the other people that were meeting you for dinner?

Yes, it is a bit out of line, but I think calling it “disrespectful” and “snarky” is a bit of an overly sensitive reaction.

So, chalk it up to experience, and be careful planning anything with them again.

Who chose the restaurant? No restaurant is worth an hour and a half wait. That’s why nce restaurants take reservations.

GloPro's avatar

Oh, gosh, I’ve left a restaurant to run somewhere else when the wait is long. I don’t fault them for that. It sounds like the group is pretty large. I believe it is less stressful to stop trying to herd cats and let people wait for the table as they see fit. If they aren’t back in time I certainly wouldn’t wait to order, either. You cannot control others, and maybe they appeared ‘snarky’ because no one appointed you boss because you got there first. no offense
One thing I really struggle with is expectations of others. I find if I let people make decisions for themselves I don’t get so frustrated. It would be nice if everyone wants to wait together, but you’re already having dinner together. I would relax.

hearkat's avatar

I would have been annoyed, considering you’d already made a concession for them, and many restaurants won’t seat a group until everyone is present.

You say they act as if their time were more important than yours, as if it’s OK for you to stand there and wait while they go do other stuff. But my take on this is that the point of the get-together was to get together, and hanging out while waiting for the table is still time spent together. I’d be insulted because their actions give the impression that they are too self-absorbed and weren’t even genuinely interested in spending time with the group (or else they’d have agreed to the bowling in the first place).

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro In some cities if the whole party is not present you can’t be seated. I would assume that is the case at this restaurant since the wait is so long. Although, I agree with you about herding cats and not letting this sort of thing bother the OP. if the party is large other people will show up soon, it isn’t a big deal.

pleiades's avatar

So annoying. Some idiots are idiots and that’s ok, but idiots without any common sense, now that’s ridiculous! I can totally relate to you.

If they had your name down and you weren’t there again when they called your group, you’d get skipped over again. So someone “had” to stay. I’d be annoyed. I would also tell them your problem and then proceed to never invite them again. Why hang out with snobs like that?

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

I would have felt used. I would have been left as a kind “marker” to hold their place while they took off.

I feel that they really should have stayed and kept you company while you waited.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Personally, I consider dinner out with friends to be the cocktail hour and the dinner, and maybe even an after dinner drink or other location for that after dinner drink.

I think it’s a little rude, too.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

Thanks for the feedback! It seems like just over half of you expressed the feelings I felt (a little used and slightly annoyed). What ended up happening was the people who were all pro-bowling showed up. And the 4 that were against the bowling idea either showed up and left or didn’t show up before the consensus among those who showed up decided to go bowling instead and simply cancel the table. I called and let the friends who left us know.

Had they simply told us beforehand that they “needed” to get something then sure, but when I asked why they are going to the mall, the reply was “Well it’s an hour and a half wait”...which just came across as rude. Idk, I know the mall was close by (not attached though) I still find the delivery rude, not so much the reasoning.

creative1's avatar

If this was some errand that couldn’t possibly wait because by the time dinner was then going to be done the store would be closed I would ask if they minded if I ran a quick errand. Otherwise the polite thing to do would be to stay and wait, enjoy the company of all who is there. It gets things going so by the time you sit down for dinner the fun has already begun.

I wouldn’t invite them along again.

CWOTUS's avatar

If there’s going to be a one-and-a-half-hour wait, then I probably would have made plans to go elsewhere in the first place. Failing that, if everyone still agreed that “this is the place”, then there’s no reason for all of you to wait – or indeed, for any of you to. Why not all go to the mall for an hour or so, and then come back to wait in the bar, if necessary?

On the other hand, considering that the plans were changed from your original intent to make this the first event of the evening for the group, and the change was made on their behalf, then I can certainly understand your feeling that it’s something not quite right when they decide to abandon you to hold the fort and “let them know” when things open up.

I suppose as well as a different restaurant, I’d be looking for different friends, too.

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