According to a study of the fairness of four common, revenue-enhancing, waitlist-management techniques, restaurants can violate first-come, first-served expectations in seating waiting customers. However, any manipulations to the queue must be done carefully and with a full explanation. Faced with one of several scenarios in which a restaurant violated the first-come, first-served approach, respondents determined that matching waiting parties to available tables based on party size could be viewed as fair, as could allowing guests to call ahead to place their names on the waitlist. On the other hand, taking reservations for large parties drew mixed reviews, and seating VIPs ahead of all guests was generally viewed as unfair. In all cases, respondents thought explaining a policy improved fairness perceptions.
Mcguire, K. A.,& Kimes, S. E. (2006). The perceived fairness of waitlist-management techniques for restaurants [Electronic version]. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 47(2), 121-134. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Hospitality Administration site: http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/414/