Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Company Christmas Lunch

See below for an UPDATE following the Christmas Lunch.

Let's talk restaurant serving times!

There are only two weeks left in 2011. Ideal Hot Dog has a virtual stranglehold on "fastest restaurant serving time of 2011" honors. The "honor" of "slowest restaurant serving time of 2011", however, is a different story.

Applebee's of Knightdale, NC, at 29:43, is currently the slowest restaurant of the year. That's a pretty tame number for "slowest of the year", though. There is still plenty of room at the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective) for another slow restaurant or two to sneak in there. Since I started the spreadsheet in 2004, only once (2009) has no restaurant all year long gone over 30 minutes.

Tomorrow, in particular, is a big day, for it is the day of the annual company Christmas lunch. The company Christmas lunch is all you could ask for if you're looking for a slow serving time: 1) a large group (15 to 20 people), and 2) a fancier restaurant than I would normally go to on my own. (By "fancier", I mean "more expensive", of course. Thanks, Lucille!) Here are the restaurant serving times from past company Christmas lunches:

2010 - 36:39 at Pop's (annual rank: 2)
2009 - 29:03 at Tosca (annual rank: 1)
2008 - no Christmas lunch
2007 - 31:21 at Cheesecake Factory (annual rank: 2)
2006 - 19:44 at Kemp's (annual rank: 12)

Throw out the Kemp's time, and you have an annual contender for slowest serving time of the year. This year should be no different, as we head to a "contemporary Mexican" restaurant called Mez for our Christmas lunch. Mez is a huge wild card, and here's why: out of the 265 restaurant serving times in my spreadsheet, exactly ONE is for a Mexican restaurant. That means I have virtually no feel for how fast or slow the Mexican genre is, let alone "contemporary Mexican".

That one, lonely data point can provide some insight, though. I don't know if Mad Mex of State College, PA, is considered "contemporary Mexican" (as opposed to plain old Mexican), but my guess is that Mez and Mad Mex are similar. And, like tomorrow's trip to Mez, the January 18, 2006 trip to Mad Mex was with a large group (party of 15). Mad Mex's time that day nearly six years ago was 31:07, which would be good enough for slowest of 2011. Could one argue that the odds of Mez eclipsing Applebee's as slowest of 2011 are over 50%?

But regardless of the time Mez posts tomorrow afternoon, with holiday family trips to Jacksonville and Toledo coming up, the "slowest time of the year" won't be decided until New Year's Day. That is, unless Mez posts a really slow time tomorrow (45 minutes plus), in which case...congratulations, I guess?

UPDATE: One thing I like about this "restaurant serving times" nonsense is that I never really know what to expect. Mez clocked in at 16 minutes, 47 seconds, much faster than I expected, and the 9th fastest "party of 7+" serving time on record. I attribute it to three factors: 1) We only had 10 people in our party, as opposed to 15 or more. 2) Appetizers are usually standard at the company Christmas lunch, but this time, they gave us our appetizers before we had even ordered our main dish. (This is something I discussed a couple of months ago.) 3) We ordered off the shorter lunch menu rather than the longer, more complicated dinner menu, which has to help, right?

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