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Are you being served? Brits are only willing to wait 16 minutes before losing their appetite

Diners revealed to be more tolerant waiting for their morning coffee than their lunchtime sandwich, according to survey by Omnico Group

Diners will wait just under 16 minutes (15 minutes 42 seconds), on average, before leaving a restaurant after not being served, new research reveals. Caffeine craving Britons were also revealed to be more patient waiting for a coffee than waiting for a sandwich (6 minutes 2 seconds vs 5 minutes 34 seconds).

These results follow a survey of 5,000 UK consumers, conducted by Peach Factory on behalf of global retail technology provider Omnico Group, as part of an investigation into the effect of waiting times on hospitality businesses across the UK.

The data also showed that Brits like their fast food, as the title suggests, served fast. Diners on average are only willing to wait 6 minutes 18 seconds without being served at fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Subway. Pubs offering food such as Wetherspoons @jdwtweet or Harvester @HarvesterUK need to be quick too, with customers only happy to wait an average of 12 minutes 27 seconds without being served, before going elsewhere.

Britons are slightly more enduring when ordering drinks at a bar or pub, willing to linger up to 7 minutes 51 seconds before giving up.

The East Midlands is home to those with the most perseverance in restaurants, willing to wait on average 16 minutes 39 seconds before absconding, followed closely by Londoners (16 minutes 22 seconds). Welsh diners are the least patient and will only endure 14 minutes and 16 seconds before leaving. For a fast food fix, Londoners are most patient, willing to wait 7 minutes 22 seconds before leaving.

Women are far more enduring than men when waiting for any kind of food or drink, beating men in every single outlet type. When eating out at restaurants, on average,  women are happy to wait up to 16 minutes and 19 seconds, with men only wanting to hang around for 14 minutes and 49 seconds.

“Whether diners are waiting to be seated, looking for the waiter to take their order or simply in a queue, they have a limit,” commented Steve Thomas Chief Technology Officer at  Omnico Group. “Sixteen minutes might seem a long time for hospitality outlets to leave their patrons waiting, but in reality, it’s no time at all and a lengthy wait can impact loyalty and customer experience. Speedy service aided by innovative technology, such as mobile Point of Sale, can help to bust these queues, reduce waiting times and ensure customers are getting the best dining experience.”

Omnico delivers queue-busting mobile point of sale (PoS) technology with leading hospitality chains, including YO! Sushi. By supplying YO! Sushi with mobile PoS, Omnico helped to increase order efficiency & tracking as well as streamline the payment process by 30 seconds per customer. Mobile PoS has the potential to cut waiting time in hospitality chains and ensure customers aren’t left hanging and, by extension, abandon their table.

Below is the full list of UK regions and the average times that locals are willing to wait without being served *.

Region Average wait time before leaving restaurant
Wales 14 mins 16 seconds
Scotland 14 mins 48 seconds
West Midlands 14 mins 52 seconds
North West 15 mins 33 seconds
East of England 15 mins 36 seconds
North East 15 mins 39 seconds
South West 15 mins 39 seconds
South East 15 mins 8 seconds
Yorkshire and the Humber 16 mins 11 seconds
London 16 mins 22 seconds
East Midlands 16 mins 39 seconds

*Further age, gender and regional breakdowns for other hospitality outlets are available on request.

To find out more, please visit the Omnico website or contact the PR team on

photo credit: brandon shigeta via photopin cc