Having an early dinner at a restaurant used to be something only older people did, but it seems times are changing. Demand for an earlier reservation is up as more folks are jumping on the early bird trend. “We’ve seen a huge decrease in guests that are dining later,” says the general manager of New York City’s location of ilili, a Lebanese restaurant. “That 10 p.m. guest is not coming anymore.”
According to the manager, the restaurant’s busiest time used to be from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., but now it’s from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. But the trend isn’t only happening in New York City, as “The Wall Street Journal” reports restaurants are now seating 10% of their diners before 5 p.m. Uber rides to restaurants during the 4 p.m. hour are also up 10%, while rides after 8 p.m. are down 9%, according to the Journal.
Restaurants don’t mind having more early birds, as that allows them to turn tables three times instead of twice, so they’re serving more customers, which means more sales and tips. But diners are also enjoying the benefits of not eating so late. A diner named Michael says it gives him more freedom and flexibility, while a diner named Judy notes she feels better when she eats dinner earlier. She says, “I sleep better and actually have lost weight.”