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High Rents, Costs Lead Restaurants To Try To Keep Customers Moving

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New Yorkers always seem to be in a hurry, but that often is not the case when it comes to dining out.

But as CBS2's Dave Carlin reported, restaurant workers want to keep things moving, and there are reasons why.

We live in a place full of foodies who are notoriously picky, and CBS2 asked them what irks them when dining out.

Many said it's one common question from the servers -- "Are you done with that?"

"I don't like it when they rush us," one woman said.

"There were seven of us at the table," said Ellen Abramson of Pittsburgh. "Everybody's plates were gone. I still had my fork in my hand."

So why the rush? Industry experts said higher rents and other challenges make table turnover more important than ever before.

With an estimated 24,000 New York City restaurants, competition is fierce and many rents are sky high. A lease for a place on Eighth Avenue near 46th Street known as restaurant row can be $70,000 a month and more.

Payroll costs are up too.

"The restaurants are trying to cut back on their expenses, but provide great hospitality; great food," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Rigie said some restaurants are cutting desserts, which tend to keep diners in their seats longer.

"I don't even get a dessert menu anymore after the bill comes," said Hesam Noah of Hell's Kitchen. "I have to ask Adlich to see the menu for dessert."

To cut costs and keep things moving, technology takes over -- ordering from kiosks instead of waitstaff.

"You'll see iPads to take orders," Rigie said.

"I do not like them," said Tamela Barnhardt of Pittsburgh. "It takes away from the one-on-one personalities you get."

To survive, restaurant owners change with the times, but know it cannot come at the expense of good service that keeps customers coming back.

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