There are many times where the guests that have eaten, at the restaraunts that we have worked at, have spent hours at the restaraunt after receiving their food, eating, and finishing their meal. When this happens, usually it isn’t left unseen by the restaurant staff. They notice, not because they are on patrol, watching to see who is staying too long, but because they just end up naturally seeing the same guest’s still sitting at their table after time passes along as they are working and doing other things.
This is usually okay with the restaurant, with the employees only mentioning it to themselves or other coworkers. Sometimes they just can’t believe that anyone would want to spend so much time at the restaraunt, as if they lived in it as their home away from home. The managers and owners of these restaurants have never approached any of them to tell them that they need to leave to make table room for new guests. Usually the restaurant will just handle the situation of not having a table for new guests by improvising.
For instance, instead of asking guests that have been at their restaurant eating and now talking for a long time to leave, they will instead politely ask them if they can move tables. They will make it look like a benefit to the moving guests if they do. It doesn’t mean that they need to give them free food or drinks either to do so. From another answer to this post from another source, a guest in the same situation tried to make it seem this way, but that just isn’t true.
Restaurants are not obligated to let just anyone person that comes into their establishment that wants food to stay on their premises. They can ask people to leave, as it is their property. Nothing bad law-wise is going to happen to them if they do so, unless it is for a law protected reason like discrimination. This means that they don’t have to provide their guests free food or drinks to get them to leave their restaurant under these circumstances. “You play nice, then I’ll place nice,” isn’t something to do or try in this situation.
However, most of the time the restaurant will avoid asking the people that have been at the restaraunt to leave, but instead find another option as mentioned. People usually find a way, even in restaraunts. Some people at restaraunts for instance have moved chairs and tables around temporarily just to make enough seats for all of people eating at the restaraunt. Most of the time the restaurant doesn’t care and is cool with it, as long it isn’t blocking traffic or orders.
These are options that an individual can politely mention to the restaraunt if they are asked to leave the restaraunt, because they have been at the restaraunt too long after receiving their food. The only reason that a restaurant would say this most likely, is because they need a table for their new guests to sit and eat. They may feel that the guests that have been there too long aren’t being fair or courteous to them by eating their food and then spending hours at the table talking. As stated, most restaurants may notice this, but don’t generally care, unless they have no tables to serve their new guests that are coming in.
Again, a restaurant won’t ask this unless it is probably their only option. They want all their guests to feel welcomed, and actually do want their guests to relax and not be rushed at the restaraunt. They know that there is a possibility of winning their guests over and having them return to the restaurant regularly. So, asking a guest to leave is usually avoided.
If a restaurant does ask them to leave for this reason, they will usually do so politely and also state the reason why, in detail, in a way that the guest can understand.
Even though some individuals may not realize it when they have spent a long time at a time restaurant, eating and socializing, is that restaurants are a business that serves food to many people throughout the day. Every restaurant has a limit on how many tables they can have in their restaurant. Some restaurants have more or less tables depending on space in their establishment.
If every guest at the restaraunt spent a lot of time sitting at the table and socializing after they have eaten, then the restaurant may not make near enough profit to pay their bills and sustain their business. This is considering the extreme circumstances of a restaurant being filled with no tables available with most people staying a long time at their table.
For some restaraunts this could be a real problem if all their guests wanted to stay at the restaraunt for hours. Some restaurants try to solve this problem by making space outside the restaurant and allowing their guests to eat on the patio or balcony. However, some restaraunts are just too small and don’t have the space.
The best thing to do sometimes when a restaraunt asks them to leave because they have been dining too long, is to try and be understanding and polite. Refusing to do so really isn’t an option, since it isn’t the guest’s restaurant. Try to be understanding of the situation and don’t take it personal. Leaving the restaurant, because you have been dining in a little too long could be helping another hungry guest have a great dining experience.
Take any options suggested by you or the restaurant to move to another table if they have one. Don’t be a jerk and don’t cause a scene. The restaurant isn’t doing anything wrong by asking a guest to move tables or leave, because they don’t have room for their other guests that need to eat. However, it would be wise decision for a restaurant to tell the guest why, so they don’t feel rushed or unwelcome to eat and return again to the restaurant in the future.