Dear Ms. Meniscus,

My husband and I eat out a few times a week because cooking is hard for me – lifting and cleaning pots, bending and working with my hands. We often meet different friends for dinner. We always get to the restaurant early and we sit down at the table, but about 30 percent of the time the people who meet us wait outside. Last weekend they waited outside for 20 minutes while we waited inside.

I can’t understand why someone would wait outside a restaurant, can you tell me? We aren’t going to start waiting outside. I need to get inside where it’s warm (or cool) and where I don’t have to stand.

Waiting Inside

Dear Waiting Inside,

Depending on where you live, it may just be uncomfortable for your guests to wait inside. In cities like New York with high table volume per square feet, if more than one group is waiting just inside the door, it can get crowded quickly. Outside there is a little bit more elbow room.

If your friends happen to be smokers, they might be taking advantage of being outside to smoke before dinner.

Maybe they are trying to meet you at the door, but missed you thinking they had arrived before you.

In general, some people just like to be outside in the open air, especially if they have been indoors all day. During the nicer times of year or on an unusually cooler/warmer day (depending on the season) they may just be trying to take advantage of the nice weather!

If you only have this issue of waiting for a select group of people to sit down and order, the best solution might be just to let them know before-hand that you will be waiting inside.

Order an extra appetizer for the table and let them know that you’ll be enjoying some shrimp cocktail while you wait.

Bon Apetit!

— M

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