Diners Are Dissatisfied with Close-Set Tables, Warns Cornell Restaurant Research Study
Customers Say, “Let's Not Rub Elbows,” According to New Restaurant Study
Kimes points out that more research is needed, because this involves dinner customers at just one restaurant. “Despite the study's limitations, the indications of dissatisfaction were strong when the tables were not generously spaced. The parties at the closely spaced tables were more likely to say that they were not planning to return. Thus, we conclude that personal space is important to American restaurant customers.”
Oversize Tables Are Not Needed for Guest Satisfaction, Restaurant Research Shows
The restaurant study also examined whether parties of two would be more satisfied if they were seated at oversize tables, in this case, four-top tables. Because the restaurant offered an appropriate mix of two and four-top tables, few couples were seated at the four-tops. Those parties were not significantly more satisfied by having more space, nor did they spend more or stay longer than couples at regular two-tops. Thus, Robson and Kimes conclude that the restaurant research study supports the recommendation of seating parties at right-size tables.
“We know that managers may question the recommendation of having more two-tops, because they think that parties of two are much happier at larger tables,” Kimes said. “We found that this is not the case. Guests' discomfort increases when those tables are set too close together.”
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