How to: time at a restaurant


Sometimes you’re under time pressure at a restaurant, perhaps you’re in a rush for the theatre, or there is a meeting to be back for after lunch.

Here are 10 cunning ways to eat out quickly, without getting indigestion.

  1. At peak times, the kitchens are extra busy. Make a reservation 15 minutes earlier than usual. Instead of booking at 8pm, book for 7.45pm. That way your order will go to the kitchen and back to your table before all the diners who arrive at 8pm.

  2. Charm your waiter and politely let him/her know you have limited time.

  3. Resist the temptation to chat when you sit down, and instead browse the menu. Then when the waiter takes your drinks order, you can order everything at once. Or if there’s time before you arrive at the restaurant, read the menu online and decide what to have in advance. Some restaurants will even allow you to pre-order at the time you book.

  4. Look ready to place your order – put the menus down, stop talking and engage eye contact with the waiter as soon as you can.

  5. Avoid ordering complicated dishes that take time to prepare like soufflé or something off-menu. Instead soup, salad or pasta will probably arrive more quickly.

  6. If you have similar tastes to your companion, order the same dish, because this will mean less time co-ordination by the kitchen.

  7. Spaghetti and noodles, or large plates like surf and turf need some work to handle on the plate and may take longer to eat.

  8. Agree with your fellow diner whether you will have desserts before you begin so that you don’t fritter time later with the ‘shall-we-shan’t-we’ conversation.

  9. Ask for the bill and coffee when your last course arrives.

  10. If you can’t handle chopsticks, admit it, and use a fork.

Another in our 'How To.. make a difference series'.

If you liked this, please share and sign up for our weekly News Page.