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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Charles Barth,
Marketing Coordinator, That's a Wrap!

Showing up to a restaurant before they open will most likely land you waiting in the lobby until they do, so you're only hurting yourself there.

Showing up just before a restaurant closes keeps kitchen and bus staff there longer than they'd like to be and likely longer than they were scheduled to stay. What may be less obvious is that these people have a long list of things to take care of before they can close the restaurant. Bus staff have to clean and restock everything all around the restaurant (including your table, which they'll have to wait for you to vacate) and kitchen staff have to scrub down everything they use to cook (including what they use to cook your meal, which are likely things they'd already cleaned for the night.) These people typically work for meager hourly wages, so they're not too enticed by a little more time on their punch card when it makes them miss what might have been the last bus home.

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Romeo Taus,
Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe

As a chef-owner we never turn down any business. Early and late is a part of what we do. Perhaps it's a little less convenient by not being able to offer the full menu, but these guests made a conscious decision to spend time and money in our establishment. It would not be hospitable to disappoint them. Any time is the right time.

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Pauline Martinez,
Chef and Owner, Perk Eatery

I wouldn't say it's rude, but showing up early is better than showing up at closing time. Of course, in this industry you never want to turn away a customer, so we will always accommodate.




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Eddie Goitia,
Owner, Monti's La Casa Vieja

Showing up early is never a problem. Those that camp out for sport need help. Two hours after closing they need to get a room.







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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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