A study analysing the relationship between table location and customers’ spending habits found that the “best table” from a guest’s point of view may not be the best for the restaurant owner.

Professors from the Cornell Hotel School conducted the study at a Mexican-style restaurant in Arizona, comparing average cheques and meal duration at tables with architectural anchors, with those in exposed locations such as heavy traffic areas.

Researchers found that customers lingered in banquettes, booths and tables next to windows, while hurrying through their meals at exposed tables. Average cheques were about the same at both types of tables, resulting in higher spending per minute at exposed tables, and faster client turnover.

Seating patterns at the table (whether guests were opposite or side-by-side) had no statistical effect.