Restaurants that are very popular, especially theme restaurants, may provide a wonderful dining experience, but are hard to get into. Everyone wants to enjoy them, so you may have to plan ahead in order to avoid the long waits that are common.
Call ahead and ask for any suggestions around the waits.
Many popular restaurants won't take reservations, but if the one you want does, be sure to make one.
Ask what nights or afternoons are less crowded than others.
Find out what hours are the least busy. Try eating during the off-hours. An earlier or later lunch or dinner will be easier, less crowded and less stressful. Careful if it's a buffet style restaurant. Eating later, you might get less than fresh food.
If dinner time is always crowded, consider going for lunch. It's often easier and faster and you'll experience the same good food and atmosphere that everyone else has to wait for at dinnertime. Most restaurants have lower prices at lunch, but smaller portions. Also, make sure that the lunch menu contains the same entrees that you would order at dinner.
Sometimes there is no alternative, but you do have options.
Ask to look at the menu while you wait. It will make the wait seem shorter and you’ll be ready to order when seated.
If there is a "special's" board, check for menu items at special prices.
Use the time to talk to others that are waiting. You may meet some interesting people and if they have been there before, they can advise you about what’s good.
If they have both a smoking and non-smoking section and you don't care, see if switching to one or the other will speed up your seating.
Ask about dividing your party if it's fairly large. Although not the most desirable option, two parties of four can often be seated faster than a party of eight. it might even be a nice break.
The bar area often has seating immediately available and although it may be a little less comfortable, you'll probably receive the same service and menu.
If the weather is nice, you might want to consider outside, patio dining. Make sure that you’ll be comfortable and able to enjoy your meal outdoors before accepting. Check the chairs, since patio furniture while durable, might be less comfortable than the indoor dining room chairs.
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