6 Common Wait Quotes From Restaurant Customers and How to Solve Them

To create a seamless dining experience is a challenge that every restaurant faces. 

In this post, we’ll break down six all-too-familiar wait quotes from restaurant customers that restaurant staff often hear in any dining establishment. Most importantly, we look at how to tackle them head-on to ensure those quotes never provoke further customer complaints. 

Contact us to chat about how a waitlist app can boost customer satisfaction.

Two dogs sitting outside a store--Wait Quotes From Restaurant Customers--4363848--Pixabay

Image by 4363848 from Pixabay (creative commons 2.0).

1. “We’ve been waiting for so long for a table”

It’s the most common of all wait quotes. Whether the wait is objectively reasonable or not, customer perception is reality. The solution isn’t just in speed; it’s about the waiting experience itself. So how can you counter long wait times?

Managing Expectations:

Sometimes, long waits for tables are an inevitable part of the customer experience. For instance, a busy Saturday night with plenty of customers coming through the door, a lack of available seating will inevitably put pressure on staff. However, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s what you can do.

  • Provide a clear initial wait time estimate. Research has shown that uncertainty plays a large role in customer dissatisfaction in restaurant wait times. With a waitlist app, however, you can update customers on the wait.
  • Underpromise and overdeliver — or that’s what Harvard Business Review says, in their piece on providing wait times.  However, smart technology can help restaurateurs more accurately estimate wait times.*
  • Create an environment where the wait is part of the experience. Think buzzy bars or interactive waiting areas.

*(Yet be careful: an overestimate can drive a customer away. Who would want to wait for 30 minutes when tables are free at the spot next door? So weave underestimates into your practices — for instance, to say that the wait is no longer than 30 minutes.)

Implementing Entertainment:

Customers are free to explore the local area while they wait! Also, you could:

  • Offer board games, puzzles, or an impromptu wine tasting while customers wait.
  • Have a roving magician or live musician to keep spirits high.

Read our ultimate guide to restaurant waitlist apps to help conquer common wait quotes that your business deals with on a daily basis.

A fork on a napkin on a table--Wait Quotes From Restaurant Customers--Laura--Pixabay

Image by Laura from Pixabay (creative commons 2.0).

2. “Is our food coming soon?”

Communication is key here. Guests can wait a surprisingly long time with a smile, as long as they know they haven’t been forgotten. Guests appreciate in-the-moment gestures. Give them a bonus and remember:

  • Teach your team the importance of proactive updates. They can inform customers on stages in the preparation of their meal.
  • If there is a delay to quality guest service, complimentary appetisers or drinks can work wonders.
  • A simple explanation of any kitchen delays can be appreciated.

3. “The waitstaff is too slow”

Perception of service speed often focuses on the server. Whether true or not, it’s worth addressing to improve general efficiency.

Service Training:

  • Incorporate prioritisation in waitstaff training.
  • Teach time-saving techniques, such as efficient multi-tasking.
  • Train staff to greet guests with etiquette — for instance, to offers drinks within two minutes of seating
  • Remind staff to have an eye out for customer behaviour — for instance, if a customer is clearly looking for a server 

Technological Solutions:

  • Consider the latest point-of-sales service and devices to expedite order taking.
  • Implement mobile ordering for more flexibility and speed, with systems like mobile drinks ordering that can help improve overall restaurant efficiency. 
A person sitting at a table--Wait Quotes From Restaurant Customers--Mircea Iancu--Pixabay

Image by Mircea Iancu from Pixabay (creative commons 2.0)

4. “There’s no one available to take our order”

This is a tricky one. As already mentioned, staff should have an eye out for customer behaviour, to know when they’re needed. So proactive staffing is crucial, but not always feasible in a busy establishment. Therefore:


  • Ensure all staff members can take basic orders and assist patrons.
  • Implement a shift manager who can jump in to help during peaks.

5. “Our reservation wasn’t honoured on time”

From social media to Google reviews, everyone is a restaurant critic. The mark of a good restaurant is in its ability to manage reservations, and more importantly, the inevitable chaos that sometimes arises. So, to avoid those negative reviews online, here are a few tips. 

Managing Delays:

  • Be honest about the delay and offer a sincere apology.
  • Briefly explain the reason for the wait to reduce frustration.

Incentives for Inconveniences:

  • Offer a complimentary round of drinks for the table or an appetiser.
  • Consider a discount for a future visit to make up for the inconvenience.

Get started with a low-cost, reliable restaurant reservations system — find out what others think in “Why this Spanish Restaurant is Celebrating Carbonara App”.

6. “We didn’t get the table we wanted”

A specific table request unmet can dampen an entire meal experience. Understanding possible limitations can ease customer disappointment.

Managing Expectations:

  • Use clear language when discussing table availability at time of booking.
  • Explain in advance if there are specific reasons a table can’t be guaranteed.

Surprise and Distraction:

  • Exceed customer expectations with exceptional service at all times anticipate table demand with a table management system.
  • Have staff who are great at chit-chat to keep the atmosphere buoyant during seating.

Tackling Common Wait Quotes from Restaurant Customers 

In tackling these common wait quotes, keep in mind that the restaurant business is dynamic, requiring both a structured approach and quick thinking. 

Every wait time is an opportunity. Whether it’s to create a great first impression or ensure a loyal customer to return at a late date, the way you handle these quotes can define your restaurant’s reputation. 

With patience, a well-trained team, and the occasional complimentary treat, you can transform even the most outspoken quote-spouter into your biggest advocate.

Sign up to discover what Carbonara App can do for your customers and staff today!

Read more: Revolutionise the Restaurant Waitlist with a Cloud-Based Hospitality App.