Is it Rude to Show Up at a Restaurant Before They Open -- What About Just Before Closing Time?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

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Chef Stephen "Chops" Smith,
Searsucker Scottsdale

It depends on how early. If you don't mind waiting for service inside the restaurant, then it's no big deal -- sometimes we're still prepping for service right up until we open.

Showing up when a place is closing is a different story. If the restaurant is busy, an extra table or two at closing won't make much of a difference. But we have to worry about labor, which is a big cost for restaurants. It's weird how guests will show up when you're closing and not think twice about it. A bank wouldn't stay open if there's people in the building at closing time nor would most other businesses. In the end, it boils down to respect -- everyone working in a restaurant has a life or family to attend to after they get off work.

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Dave Andrea,
Owner, Brat Haus

It's not rude to show up early, just a little inconvenient. You're usually not prepared to give them 100 percent of your attention since you're busy setting up. Showing up at closing is no big deal. Best time to show up is before the rush, whatever that means for whatever restaurant you're going to.


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Bill Sandweg, Owner,
Copper Star Coffee and Circle H Barbecue

I'm an old Oregano's guy, so open is open -- even five minutes after close! It's not rude. Sometimes the customer just doesn't know and there may be extenuating circumstances. When our daughter was born by emergency C-section, there weren't many places to go at 10 p.m. Mi Patio stayed open for us and made us customers for life. I guess you just never know.




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13 comments
aunt_ju_ju28
aunt_ju_ju28

I would only show up early if it was a particularly busy restaurant and I wanted to be one of the first in line... which means I, of course, would be expecting a wait.  As for closing... the latest I would show up before closing is 30 minutes.  I don't think it is polite to expect staff to stay beyond their normally scheduled hours.  Remember what these people do for a living... they prepare and serve you FOOD... don't be rude!

Eleno John Banquil Jr
Eleno John Banquil Jr

It's absolutely ridiculous to think that any restaurant operator would find it rude for a guest to show up before they open or right before they close. As a restaurant operator myself, my restaurant is set up 15 minutes before we open and we take guests all the way up until closing time without even blinking.

Tim O'Connor
Tim O'Connor

When someone is hanging outside the door at my place, Honey Moon Sweets, I'll open up. If coffee is still brewing, I let them know and welcome them to wait inside. As long as they don't mind, I don't mind.

nmbrwuncrush2000
nmbrwuncrush2000

This "ask a local chef" series has certainly shown the "douche" side of some of these people. . . as many others have states; maybe some of these people should have a "last seating" policy instead of closing hours. . . one needn't worry about arriving within the last 15 minutes of "close" if that is the time listed for the establishment. . . come on!

 

Mary Doe
Mary Doe

What 'rude' has to do with it. It's up to the restaurant to decide if and how they accommodate the clients. Arguing and throwing tantrums if you are told that you can be seated until such and such time, or if the kitchen is not taking more orders is rude. The later even it is an hour before the posted closing time.

Marny Leary Murphy
Marny Leary Murphy

As a waitress I know first hand how much I hated it, but as a consumer they are open until they are closed. However, I always compensate in my tip if I have kept them late.

Melissa Backstrom
Melissa Backstrom

Just before closing time is pushing it, but be mindful and don't order a huge meal. Duh!

Melissa Backstrom
Melissa Backstrom

No it is not. It's a good sign. Post later hours if it's an inconvenience. I do not expect to get served right away, but would like to get seated and certainly don't mind enjoying a drink while waiting. An organized kitchen is prepped before they open.

number6
number6

I agree with Burt and Chef May. Unlike a bank or retailer, restaurants should realize that the dining experience takes time. The hours they post should be the times they are willing to provide the whole service. If they want you out of the place by midnight then maybe they should stop seating at 10, instead of advertising a 12 oclock closing. 

burt
burt

Chef May gets it. Open is open.

saulgoldfarb
saulgoldfarb

restaurants exist to serve me. there is nothing that I could do that would be in any way "rude" to a restaurant. Any restaurant that I choose to patronize should consider themselves fortunate to have a customer. now, you cooks get back to work and stop wasting my time.

jacqdavis
jacqdavis

When my husband and I went to Italy for vacation, and since we could not easily find the hours for the local restaurants, we just walked up and asked if they were open while they were setting up tables around (6pm), many of them gave us attitude and angrily told us no and did not even offer us to come back later. We were just going to patiently wait till they were done, but decided to walk away because of the rude response. I think businesses need to realize that some customers are willing to wait till they are ready even if we show up early/before opening. But if a customer expects to be serviced before the restaurant is fully ready, is kind of inconsiderate too.

Bruce Griffin III
Bruce Griffin III

I am really suprised at some of the answers to this question. The showing up early part is easy. You are more than welcome to show up early if you don't mind waiting a bit. But I would NEVER turn away a guest or make them feel uncomfortable for showing up just before we closed. Your hours are your hours......except it. if you have a problem with that then you are in the wrong business. If my cooks are itching to get out.....I send them home and will cook for the table myself. But one thing that I will always teach them is treat your last table of the day just like the first. And in this economic climate you have to be insane to turn away a guest.........

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