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Time's up! Restaurants setting minute limits for dawdling diners

Aug. 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM ET

Lingering over that glass of wine? She may have to enforce restaurant table time limits.
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Lingering over that glass of wine? She may have to enforce restaurant table time limits.

What's more annoying at a restaurant, waiting desperately for a table as diners take their sweet time finishing up, or missing out on your last bite as hurried waiters yank away your plate?

Most people prefer the latter, as a Zagat survey found restaurant-goers were in favor of setting table time limits for dawdling diners. Today, the New York Post reports that NYC eateries are actually enforcing those limits in an effort to keep waiting times down for ravenous guests. More shockingly: The places that do put a limit on eating time find that guests comply without complaint.

“They see people waiting and take pride in finishing in time for the next reservation,” Shelby Torbitt, general manager of New York's Soccarrat Paella Bar, told the Post.

Would you rather know you'll get a table sooner but be rushed through your meal, or wait your turn and linger over that last sip of wine?

More:
Table for two? Sign on the dotted line first
Do you have an annoying ordering style?
Restaurant bans kids: Is it fair?

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