If you don’t know about restaurant timers, you’re not alone.
TikTok users are currently freaking out over what is, for many, a totally new revelation. The hard truth? Many restaurants track how long you’ve been sitting at your table.
The discovery began with a user named @dibbs, who, based on several of his videos, appears to be an employee at Olive Garden. In a now-viral clip, the TikToker reacted to a customer who had been seated at their table for four hours.
“Imagine dining at the Olive Garden for hour hours,” @dibbs says in the video.
Instead of reacting to what is, admittedly, a very long time to stay at an Olive Garden, most TikTok users had another response. Most commenters were shocked to see that the restaurant’s software allowed it to time each party.
“Wait … they time you?” one user wrote.
“They time us? BYE IM ORDERING OUT INSTEAD,” another added.
“That changes everything,” another wrote.
Some users called the timer an “invasion of privacy” and asked why it existed. Those comments elicited a response from another user, named Shelby, who claimed to be a former hostess.
“I thought this was common knowledge,” Shelby says in her clip, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times.
The TikToker went on to explain why restaurant timers exist, stating that they can help hosts and hostesses better predict wait times.
“You can have ten tables that just sat down and have only been sitting there for five minutes — so that would put the wait time to about 45 minutes,” Shelby says. “But you could have 10 tables that have been there for 45 minutes, and that could put the wait at, like, 10, 15 minutes.”
Despite the clarification, many TikTok users were surprised by Shelby’s video. Many wrote that they thought that, instead of a restaurant having a timer, the staff was just “guessing.”
In some establishments, that’s a little more true. Not every restaurant uses the same system for seating tables. Still, if you even spend four hours at an Olive Garden, just know someone might be watching.
If you liked this story, check out this article on TikTok’s latest mind-blowing kitchen hack.
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