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.

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 21, 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 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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