How long would you wait at a restaurant before you decided to get up and leave in search of an establishment that cared enough about you and your table to render timely service?
The large party ultimately decided to call it quits and even declined the restaurant’s offer of free appetizers when they decided to pack their bags and head somewhere else to eat.
Ro posted about their experience in a viral clip that’s accrued over 2.7 million views on the popular social media platform.
we were so deep in convo that we hadnt realized we had been sitting for over 30 mins and never got our drink orders in. we waited a little bit longer and then decided to go elsewhere. the waiter did come up to us while we were leaving and apologized and offered free appetizers but we politely declined. san jose was FIRE and most importantly my mom was happy ❤️🔥
In the clip, Ro records an outing he took with their mom and co. to the Olive Garden, showing people at their table getting up and collating their menus as they exit the venue. A series of text overlays explains their decision to ultimately leave the restaurant: “the service at olive garden was SO BAD…no drinks after sitting for 30 mins…..”
The clip then transitions to Ro and the other diners at their table exiting the Olive Garden: “so we dipped,” the TikToker writes. Instead, they decided to take their business to another restaurant: “and went to San Jose”
They record their party being seated at another restaurant, San Jose, where it appears they had a better time. The clip ends with them raising their glasses in unison for a group cheers, leaving their mother “happy and hydrated” as she bounces happily side to side while seated in her chair and rocking a sombrero.
They provided further details about their negative experience that ended up becoming what looked like a great night out in a caption for the video: “we were so deep in convo that we hadnt realized we had been sitting for over 30 mins and never got our drink orders in. we waited a little bit longer and then decided to go elsewhere. the waiter did come up to us while we were leaving and apologized and offered free appetizers but we politely declined. san jose was FIRE and most importantly my mom was happy”
Some commenters replied that they’ve had similar experiences while dining out at the Olive Garden when it came to being ignored by service staff: “Omg lmao this happened to me at Olive Garden in montebello”
Another said that they were given the cold shoulder by staff at an Olive Garden that they visited: “Lol recently went to Olive Garden and we got unlimited soup salad etc they didn’t refill once lol we were so upset”
“Happened to me also! Waited for 15 mins and no one came. Then the server went to the table next to us that had just sat down. We left lol,” someone else wrote.
But there was one remark from a TikTok user which suggested that the restaurant’s decision to ignore the table may’ve been intentional: “they’re definitely doing it on purpose I used to work there and the servers would argue over who had to take the big parties”
Someone who said that they were a server remarked that the customers could’ve been more proactive in ensuring that they had a server assigned to their table, adding that they were probably left out in the cold due to there being a shift change at the restaurant: “as a server please just ask the hostess or anyone, they probably had a shift change and the waiter probably didnt know!! its rough sometimes”
How long should you wait at a table before doing something?
According to a piece published to St. Louis mag’s dining section, folks should be getting their drink orders taken within 5 minutes and if drinks aren’t brought to the table within 10 minutes, then that’s usually around the time folks start to try and make eye contact with a service worker.
One redditor uploaded a piece to the site’s r/NoStupidQuestions sub asking what an appropriate amount of time was to wait for “initial service at a restaurant” adding that they “walked out of a place after being ignored by the waitress for 10 minutes”
A commenter shared their rules for waiting for service in a sit-down eatery: “10 minutes if it’s slow, 15-20 if it’s busy. But if you have to wait more than 5, tell a manager so they can fix their sh*t.”
Another user on the platform seemed to agree with poster’s ire at having to wait 10 minutes for service: “Yeah – 10 minutes is what I was going to say. I’ve walked out of 2 different places after being ignored for that long.”
A popular answer on a Quora forum post asking a similar question seemed to provide a similar estimation of projected wait times: “If the restaurant is busy, and no one has greeted you in 15 minutes I would leave, if they have greeted you but 30 minutes later no one has come to take your order leave. That is my opinion, though and you don’t have to stay more than 5 minutes if you feel that is long enough for them to have come to take your order.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Olive Garden via email and Ro via TikTok comment for further information.
*First Published: Aug 2, 2023, 10:16 am CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.