A story in the Daily Mail claims that a manager at a ‘busy NYC restaurant’ found that customers constantly using their cell phones were to blame for a dramatic increase in restaurant wait times nowadays.
The proprietor reviewed surveillance videos from 2004 and 2014. He found that the average time people spent in the restaurant skyrocketed from one hour and five minutes to one hour and fifty-five minutes during that period.
He claims that the videos showed customers are now preoccupied with checking texts and emails, taking photos, and complaining about problems connecting to WiFi. According to the article, cell phones have become a large distraction for customers, and are preventing them from ordering and eating as efficiently as they once did.
Holding down table turn times are the key to profitability in any busy restaurant. The longer people linger, the fewer customers restaurants can serve, and the longer people at the door have to wait. The proprietor finished with a plea for common courtesy.
This increase in restaurant wait times is yet another unintended consequence of new media. People are too busy interacting with people they are not with to pay attention to the people they are with. They slow service for everyone.