How Long Is Too Long To Linger After Finishing Your Meal?

If you’ve dined out enough in your life, you’ve likely been on both sides of the waiting game… You’re the one standing at the front of the restaurant, scanning the room for diners who seem to be wrapping things up. Or you’re the ones sitting at the table, finishing up dessert or sipping your third cup of coffee, even though people are waiting for a table.

Over at, they received a complaint from diners at a Houston restaurant who were told to “vacate the table” by the eatery’s owner because he felt that — what he claims was two hours and forty minutes but which the diners say was only 70 minutes — they had gotten their fill and their lingering was prohibiting him from serving other customers.

So we want to know your feelings on this bit of eating etiquette. How long should restaurants let you linger at your table after you’ve finished the meal you’re paying for? Is it okay for restaurants to ask you to leave if they feel you’re causing them to delay other diners?