When should I go after a restaurant's grand opening?
December 8, 2016 8:35 AM   Subscribe

A popular franchise restaurant has opened in the past few weeks. It is very large and located within a mall. Based on the reviews in Google and Yelp, the staff needs more practice with efficiency.

I like the food from other locations I've travelled to out of state. How many weeks should I wait to sit down to have a meal at this new location?
posted by ayc200 to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How much do you care about efficiency? If you're OK with it maybe being a bit slow then go immediately. If that's a big problem for you then wait a while.
posted by brainmouse at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

How many weeks should I wait to sit down to have a meal at this new location?

posted by thelonius at 8:49 AM on December 8, 2016 [9 favorites]

Or keep reading Yelp and wait to see when people say the issues are resolved, if it's important to you that there not be any efficiency issues.
posted by Mid at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would bring a good book or a friend you want to catch up with, and just plan going in that you'll wait a little longer for your table and/or food. Mostly because I think it's hard to predict if/when the staff will improve. It's quite possible the management of this location is kind of sucky and the place will always have slow service. I have loved many fabulous restaurants that have shitty/slow service, which I put up with if I like the food enough. :) But, if bad service is a dealbreaker for you, then I'd wait to see when the reviews start turning around and there are less comments about this issue. Another good option, if you have a flexible schedule, would be to go at an unusual/off time when they're less likely to be busy.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2016

How many weeks should I wait to sit down to have a meal at this new location?

If you want to be a little conservative you might want to wait seven weeks instead.
posted by grouse at 8:52 AM on December 8, 2016 [13 favorites]

For a non-franchise restaurant, I'd say to go week 2 and week ~7-8. On week 2 you get their original vision and all the problems, but show your support and enthusiasm for the concept, which is important to the fledgling business. Then by week 7 or 8 they have (started to) sort out issues, not only with staff and customer procedures but also menu items, kitchen procedures, sourcing, etc.
For a franchise, the purpose of going immediately is to tell them you like their brand. And because the menu and food sourcing is set, and most procedures/manual is set, it's only a matter of getting the staff trained into a good groove, so I agree with thelonius, 6 weeks is probably sufficient.
posted by aimedwander at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

why not go on, say, a tuesday? they're not likely to be as busy then.

otherwise, i say 5 weeks, because being the union of the first female number and the first male number, it is the symbol of creative life and erotic love (according to jung).
posted by andrewcooke at 9:23 AM on December 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

Just go at a time when you're not in a hurry. This does not sound like something that would prevent me from eating at a restaurant (especially a chain restaurant in a mall) that I otherwise wanted to check out.
posted by Sara C. at 9:27 AM on December 8, 2016

If it is a new chain for the area, it will be insanely busy at first. When I worked at the first Olive Garden to open in New England we had 3-4 HOUR WAITS the first few weekends. But I would say after the first month or so you should be fine, if you can avoid busy times and be patient with the staff.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:33 AM on December 8, 2016

You guys, did you favorite 7, 6, and 5 weeks that number of times respectively on purpose?

I frequently go to restaurants when they're really new and I'm rarely disappointed. I agree with the suggestion to go on an off night like a Tuesday rather than wait a specific interval of time.
posted by ferret branca at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

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