Restaurants have two strategic levers for revenue management: duration control and demand-based pricing. Reducing dining times, especially during peak periods, can add considerable revenue for the restaurant. Managing meal duration, however, can be far more complex than manipulating the price. This paper examines dinner duration expectations for a casual restaurant using an adaptation of a price sensitivity measurement tool, naming it 'Time Sensitivity Measurement' or TSM. TSM is then used to derive the expected dining time, the optimal and indifference duration points. The results show that there is a relatively wide spread of acceptable dining duration times. Furthermore, the optimal and indifference points were significantly shorter than the mean expected dining time, suggesting that many restaurants may be able to shorten dining duration significantly (some 20 per cent in this present study) without compromising customer satisfaction. Furthermore, the paper explores whether demographic variables have an impact on time preferences and finds only nationality effects to be significant. Specifically, North Americans and Asians have similar duration expectations, while Europeans preferred a significantly longer dining time.
Kimes, S. E., Wirtz, J., & Noone, B. M. (2002). How long should dinner take? Measuring expected meal duration for restaurant revenue management [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, SHA School site: http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/847