5 Psychologically-Proven Ways to Make Customer Waiting Times Feel Shorter

Mar 18, 2022
Have you ever joined the line outside a restaurant and the waiting time feels like an eternity? That’s known as the Psychology of Waiting, which is the perception of the amount of time that passes when someone if waiting.

We've put together a list of 5 research-proven ways to reduce the perceived waiting time of your customers and lessen their frustrations.

1. Acknowledge and Inform your Customer on the Estimated Waiting Time.

Unanticipated waits feel longer than anticipated waits, so even just a greeting to a waiting customer and explain that they will be served shortly will make their wait feel that much shorter. If a particular dish needs extra time to be prepared or the kitchen would take longer to get their order ready, let the customers know in advance before they even place their orders.

2. Keep Your Customers Occupied

Give your customer something to do, like reading the menu while waiting for a table or tuck into some entrees first if their order will take a while. This would drastically reduce the perception of the amount of time that they spent waiting for a table or food.

3. Make Sure Your Customer Is Comfortable

Physically uncomfortable waits, like waiting under the sun, feel unbearably longer than comfortable waits. Guide the customer in a designated waiting space where there are seats and under shelter.

4. Ensure There Is No Line-Cutting Or Queue-Jumping

Unfair waits could result in increased frustration and dissatisfaction. Try establishing a protocol to queue up multiple waiting customers, this can be done by taking the customer’s name or assigning a queue number. Another way to ensure fairness could be serving big groups of customers only when everyone is physically present.

5. Reassure Your Customers From Time To Time.

Anxiety makes waiting worse, so always try to serve your customers some refreshments and keep them updated on the waiting process.

These practices are not meant to be distinct and they, in fact, tend to work best when used together.

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