Restaurant Hours Rant


I’m super OK with this if I know about it.

I totally get where an owner and the staff is coming from, which was (in the particular place that set me off) 35 minutes before marked closing time. They weren’t willing to do a to-go, either.

What angers me is some places do serve and seat until the minute of closing time, some do the 30 minute takeout thing, some do the 15 minute takeout thing, some do nothing at all (no takeout) on either the 30 minute or 15 minute rules.

Coupled with bars which have a kitchen (and maybe even a good kitchen!) but no sign online when that kitchen might close.

THAT’S what bugs me. Not knowing.

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In all fairness, the shut down of a kitchen may be way more involved depending on what food they serve. Some cuisines may be more involved, so it’s not possible to just fire a stove or kitchen back up (e.g., if they know they have 1 hr of cleaning time to shut things down). And I’ll bet you that most restaurants just grab one of those generic OPEN/CLOSE signs or templates and fills it in for posting on their front entrance. Few and far between offer this information up front; I have seen it by the way, but it’s rare.

To also play devil’s advocate - as someone who works with employee communications all the time, I can attest to the fact that most people DO NOT READ. Even if a restaurant decided to be helpful, I can guarantee you there are still plenty of people who will walk by, see patrons in a business, and just go in and wait to be seated or served and expect food. They’ll be thoroughly confused why there are patrons dining and wonder why chefs can’t just cook them what they want. This might be one of those no win situations for a restaurant.


As someone who’s been both an owner and an employee of businesses that were part retail, part food/wine-beer service I can add this: especially in challenging business times you’d have to have some idea of how the place is doing financially to judge with full understanding. I doubt that the vast majority of owners don’t understand the negatives of pissing off customers, but sometimes they feel they need to act defensively. I personally listened to an owner constantly debate with himself about closing early vs. that one customer who would show up when the place was closed and be very upset that it was still within posted hours.

That’s a very difficult decision for most owners (or should be), but sometimes, when you haven’t seen a customer in an hour and it’s 30 minutes til posted closing…… you can conclude that saving a few bucks is worth the risk. It’s not a good long term decision but it may get you through really challenging periods.


The place that particularly set me off was a mom and pop corner dumpling joint. There are usually two employees and the entire place you can’t swing a dead cat inside. I know dumplings take a while to steam, but the place doesn’t take long to clean I think. I would have settled for a noodle soup, if they had said “hey what do you want” I would have been fine with that, I’m not picky, I just wanted a nice little plate of dumplings and it was getting late. I know some things take long to cook / clean. The second place has a complicated kitchen because they have a honest japanese binchotan grill, and a deep frier, and a bunch of staff. That was OK to me although they seemed to have a lot of people still in the restaurant so it seemed a little sad to be turned away.

Sometimes restaurants say “we’re just about to close the kitchen but if you know what you want you can sit down”, which is signal for “no really we’ll feed you but you order right now” and then I can make my own decision. THat’s the kind of thing I might expect 30 minutes before closing time.

I realize sometimes you take a couple and they order a bunch of stuff and then want to make a second order then want to linger. I’m not one of those people (or, I know when not to be :slight_smile: ), but they don’t know that. But really, you can’t let me just do a single order of dumplings? I’ll be quick.

Just going to say again: I’m perfectly OK with closing the kitchen early, I just want to know about it! Google, index the world’s information, put the kitchen close time on the listing!

OMG! It happened!!! Look, under hours, there are now Happy Hours and Kitchen Hours!!!

Now at least I can filter by open hours then actually see when they claim to have an open kitchen!

Strangely, at another nearby restaurant, I tried to put in the kitchen hours and there’s no way to edit it…

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How much are you charging for your remaining two wishes? :wink:


I think it’s rude to go into a restaurant only 30 minutes before they close, regardless of when they stop serving food. Employees will want to start closing up in advance of the posted close time so they can get out at a reasonable hour. Go early or get takeout.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2