Look, I get a place wanting to close early when there’s no custom, but …
I go to restaurants about half an hour before closing, often. I eat late (not great for one’s health but …), especially as most of the restaurants in my area which used to be 10pm close are now 9pm close.
Restaurants always seem to have two main closing times.
- when the kitchen closes (usually the last call for food / takeout )
- when they turn off the lights and leave
There are many other slight variations. When they stop seating customers. Happy hour menu. Brunch menu. Late night menu. Last call for alcohol.
Yelp and Google just have “hours”. Which hours are they? Usually the hours posted on the door of the joint. And which are these? Who knows. Restaurant web pages RARELY have hours easy to find (should be on the front page FFS).
I get nightly variation. Staff is tired and no one is there and they want to pack it in early. Then be honest, if I show up at 8:30 for a 9:00 close, and hear “not enough people, closing early”. That’s FINE with me. OCCASIONALLY.
I was COMPLETLY STUCK in redwood city (a suburb of san francisco) because ALL of the restaurants in a two block region with a 9pm “close time” would not seat me at 8:30.
How, exactly, is a restaurant “open” if you can’t go in and order food and receive it?!?!?!
Years ago, I asked a senior guy at Yelp why they don’t list Kitchen Hours different from Open Hours. I posited the problem of bars that serve food, where they might be listed as open to 2am, but the kitchen closes at 10pm or 11pm. Well and good, just stop returning my search for “food open now” places that won’t serve me food! That’s even worse than a “9pm close time” meaning “no food after 8:15pm”. Or at least have a field where I can see before heading over.
He said, “what? that’s a thing?” He has kids, a “serious job”, doesn’t get out much at 10pm. I like the guy a lot, but (not that this is a diatribe of the numerous sins of Yelp) that’s just a miserable lack of product understanding and target market. Then Google basically copied all the interface from Yelp, and didn’t have the concept of a separate Kitchen Hours.
What happens now is, through trial and error, I have to keep my own tabs on who closed 45 minutes early, 30 minutes early, 15 minutes early, and spot-on-the-nose. This requires, basically, driving around areas with high restaurant densities several times between 9pm and 10pm on different days of the week to see who is in what category. That doesn’t work for bars, who seem to be hopping but have no food available, you have to go in and ask. Which I do, because I’m hungry, and I’ve now got a few stalwarts I can depend on later in the evening.
Please, if you run a restaurant, put KITCHEN HOURS prominently on your website. If they happen to be the same as your open hours, DO IT ANYWAY because I’ll never know if you’re really stating the kitchen hours unless it says KITCHEN HOURS.
If you happen to work at one of the tech search engines that covers restaurants please bug someone to consider Kitchen Hours. It can be an optional parameter.
Thank you for listening.