How Long Do Restaurants Hold Reservations?

If you’re someone who frequently dines out, you might be wondering how long restaurants typically hold reservations.

Whether you’re making a reservation for a special occasion or just want to secure a table at a popular spot, knowing how long you have to arrive can help you plan your evening.

Read on to learn more about how long restaurants hold reservations and factors that may affect their policy.

What Will Affect Reservation Holding Times

Restaurant table set and ready.
Restaurant table set and ready.

Before we dive into the specifics of how long you can expect a restaurant to hold your reservation, it’s important to note that there are several factors that may affect their policy.

For example, restaurants may have different policies for peak hours versus off-peak hours.

Additionally, the size and type of your party may impact how much time the restaurant is willing to hold your table.

Finally, some restaurants may be more flexible during slower times if they have plenty of available tables.

On the other hand, restaurants that are in high demand may be less lenient with hold times, as they are likely turning away other customers who are also looking for a table.

How Long Do Restaurants Hold Reservations?

Most restaurants typically hold reservations for around 15 minutes past the reservation time.

However, this can vary depending on the specific restaurant and the factors we mentioned above.

Some upscale restaurants may only hold reservations for 5-10 minutes, while neighborhood bistros might be more lenient and hold tables for half an hour or even longer.

If you know that you’re going to arrive late, it’s best to call the restaurant as soon as possible to let them know.

They may be able to hold your table for a bit longer, or they may be able to give you an estimate of how long they can hold the table.

Additionally, if you’re running late, try to be courteous to the restaurant’s staff.

Remember that they are doing their best to accommodate you and to keep their other customers happy as well.

FAQs

How Long Do Most Restaurants Hold Reservations?

Most restaurants hold reservations for around 15 minutes past the reservation time.

Are There Any Factors That Might Affect How Long A Restaurant Holds A Reservation?

Yes, several factors may affect reservation holding time, including the size and type of your party and the time of day you’re dining.

What Should I Do If I Know I’m Going To Be Late For My Reservation?

If you know you’re going to be late, call the restaurant as soon as possible to let them know. They may be able to hold your table for a bit longer, or they may be able to give you an estimate of how long they can hold the table.

Is It Acceptable To Be Late For A Reservation?

While it’s best to arrive on time for your reservation, sometimes unexpected events can cause you to run late. If this happens, try to be courteous to the restaurant’s staff and call to let them know. They may be able to accommodate you, but be prepared to wait if the restaurant is busy and your table has been given to another party.

Can I Lose My Reservation If I’m Late?

Yes, it is possible to lose your reservation if you’re more than a few minutes late. Most restaurants want to keep their tables full, especially during busy times, so they may give your table away if you don’t arrive on time.

Summary

Most restaurants hold reservations for around 15 minutes past the reservation time.

However, this can vary depending on the specific restaurant and the factors mentioned above.

If you know you’re going to be late, it’s best to call the restaurant as soon as possible to let them know.

Remember to be courteous to the restaurant’s staff, and try to arrive on time if possible.

With a bit of planning and consideration, you can enjoy a stress-free dining experience and make the most of your restaurant reservation.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.