OpenTable revealed its lists of the least and most punctual U.S. cities.

By Mike Pomranz
July 09, 2019
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Arriving late to a party is usually fine: Your friend will probably appreciate an extra 15 minutes to put out the guacamole. But if you’re running late to a restaurant reservation, you could be hurting their bottom line. Yeah, late beats a no-show, but if the restaurant is booked solid, your “stuck in traffic” can create a jam for everyone else.

As the company behind many of those reservations, OpenTable has a vested interest in keeping diners on time. So it’s not surprising that the online booking service has recently released lists tacitly admonishing the cities with the tardiest diners and praising the cities with more punctual populations. “Being on time for your reservation isn't just about showing consideration to a restaurant's staff; it's also about being considerate of your fellow diners so that their dining experiences begin and end on time,” OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter explained. “While most restaurants will hold your reservation for 15 minutes, some may not!”

Of course, some cities are just known for running late, so feel free not to show any shock when you hear the top locations where diners are “most likely to arrive 20-plus minutes late for their reservation.” First on the list is New York, followed by Los Angeles and Miami. Meanwhile, the city where diners are “most likely to arrive on time or early to their reservation” is Dallas/Fort Worth, followed by Phoenix and Seattle. In general, OpenTable points out that big cities tend to correlate to tardiness whereas medium-sized cities were more likely to be on time or early.

Yes, being early is even a thing. Think that sounds lame? Think again, says Potter. “Buffer in 15 extra minutes of travel time to account for any obstacles,” she says. “Even if I’m arriving alone, getting to a spot early is a great excuse to check out the restaurant's bar and cocktail offerings.” Heck, I say why not buffer in an extra hour? That way you can actually finish a couple drinks before having to deal with your family and friends. It’s always worked for me.

Here are both top ten lists, courtesy of OpenTable:

The top 10 cities where diners are most likely to arrive 20+ minutes late for their reservation are:

  1. New York, New York
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Miami, Florida
  4. San Francisco, California
  5. Atlanta, Georgia
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  8. Orange County, California
  9. Chicago, Illinois
  10. Boston, Massachusetts

The top 10 cities where diners are most likely to arrive on time or early to their reservation are:

  1. Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas
  2. Phoenix, Arizona
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Denver, Colorado
  5. Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota
  6. Hawaii
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Orange County, California
  9. Atlanta, Georgia
  10. San Diego, California
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