Waiting Areas in Restaurants

Waiting Areas and Why They Matter in Restaurants

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Restaurants choose whether to have a designated area for waiting. Some may incorporate it into the bar area and other don't have one at all. Those restaurants that do have a waiting area understand the opportunity it presents to to showcase hospitality to guests.

The waiting area can often be overlooked when designing the floorplan. Not putting in enough attention to detail will reduce the comfort level of guests and their patience for waiting will be shortened.

At minimum, comfortable seating should be available. Menus and displays for daily specials or other events should be close by for guests to peruse while they wait. Implementing other elements to keep guests comfortable are the choice of the restaurant and how it ties into the theme.

The waiting area shouldn't be too far away from the host stand so that the guests feel forgotten. Keep the guests informed and entertained to cut down on a negative experience.

How a Well Designed Waiting Area Improves Guest Experience

A restaurant owner should seek to provide a stress-free and comfortable waiting area for guests. The following ideas will help improve guest experience while waiting.


Having a form of entertainment available is a good way to distract the guests from wait times. Setting up the waiting area with amenities like TV, reading material or free Wi-Fi will allow the guests to keep busy. Today's guest will have a mobile device, so having Wi-Fi as an option is a must. Some bar areas provide interactive gaming to keep the attention of the guest occupied.

When providing television options, make sure there is a variety to choose from. Not every guest has the same interests. If multiple monitors are too pricey, a split screen can show different viewing options.

Charging stations for laptops and mobile devices make it more convenient for guests who would like to multi-task. Using the wait time for tasks that need doing will be a valuable option.

Case studies have shown that guest frustration would be minimized if the wait time was told to them in advance. The host staff should always know an approximate wait time to relate to the guest.

Using technology can also provide a better balance when guest's are waiting. Whether it is via text message or automatic beeper system, it cuts down on confusion for the guest to know when their table is ready.

Ambiance is important for all areas of the restaurant. A welcoming reception area and waiting area will create a calming environment.

Don't Skimp on Comfort- Waiting long for a seat in a restaurant can be made worse if it is uncomfortable to do so. Furniture should be tested out before being placed in the waiting area. There should always be a place to sit down and it should be accessible to all.

Upgrades to furniture should be made well in advance before they wear out. While a guest waits, they shouldn't be waiting in a shabby atmosphere as it will give the a poor impression.

Waiting is necessary sometimes, but it doesn't have to be a terrible experience. Incorporating ways to keep guests comfortable, entertained, and informed will keep the a positive dining experience.

Conclusion to Waiting Areas

  • The restaurant waiting area is an often missed opportunity to provide extra hospitality the guests.
  • Keeping guests distracted by offering amenities in the waiting area will keep them busy instead of watching the clock.