Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Restaurants cherry pick parties by size

Date:
May 9, 2011
Source:
Boston College
Summary:
Faced with the choice of seating a large party or several small parties, restaurants will "cherry pick" the more lucrative smaller groups. While large parties may receive discouragingly long wait times, it turns out the wait is often shorter than estimated, according to a new report.

Wait times quoted by restaurants typically increase depending on the size of the party. Though large parties are often given longer wait times, the actual time spent waiting to be seated turns out to be shorter than the time estimate from the host or hostess, according to a report in the most recent edition of the Journal of Service Research.

Related Articles


One of the main reasons behind this discrepancy is the practice of "cherry picking" or "serving the high value customers and denying service to low value customers." For restaurants, cherry picking consists of quoting longer-than-expected wait times to those they wish not to serve. Using a survey of over 250 restaurant employees from various restaurants worldwide Cornell University Professor of Operations Management Gary Thompson found the practice of cherry picking customers by party size to be fairly common. This is due to the fact that smaller parties typically spend more per person than do larger parties, which tend to share menu items. Similarly, large parties take longer to serve than small parties because they socialize more during the meal.

As a follow up to the survey, using a simulation of restaurant conditions, Thompson examined the advantages of cherry picking. It makes good economic sense for a restaurant to cherry pick when there is excess demand, meaning that there are a sufficient number of small parties to displace any business lost from large parties.

"Cherry-picking appears to be most useful in small restaurants in environments where customers have limited tolerance for waiting for a table," Thompson said.

But in fact those long wait times quoted to large parties might not turn out to be so long after all, especially if there aren't many other small parties competing for seats and service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. M. Thompson. Cherry-Picking Customers by Party Size in Restaurants. Journal of Service Research, 2011; 14 (2): 201 DOI: 10.1177/1094670511401367

Cite This Page:

Boston College. "Restaurants cherry pick parties by size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509150746.htm>.
Boston College. (2011, May 9). Restaurants cherry pick parties by size. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509150746.htm
Boston College. "Restaurants cherry pick parties by size." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509150746.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Officials in New Jersey and Maine have quarantined Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox, a move the White House doesn't seem to support. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) With start-ups like Postmates offering quick delivery of meals, groceries and other items through a smartphone app, the online world is delivering again. Duration: 01:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins