number of "sittings" in a night


Senior Member
Czech Republic/Czech
Hello, flipping through the New Headway Upper-Intermediate Teacher's Book photocopiable materials (Oxford University Press) I came across a business maze. One of the playing cards reads:

It (meaning the "Bring Your Own" alcohol concept) proves to be extremely popular with your customers. The problem is they bring an awful lot of drink with them and stay for a long time. You are not making enough money from them to keep the business profitable.

And one of the options reads: You could restrict the amount of time people are allowed to stay. Lots of restaurants have a number of "sittings" in a night - so can you.

Firstly, does the "number of sittings in" refer somehow to the "sit-ins" i. e. non-violent protests? Secondly, is there another word for a "sitting in"? ? Before I read the text, this concept as well as the bring-your-own alcohol one had been completely unknown to me. Thank you for your suggestions.
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "In" goes with "in a night", not "sittings." There are a three "sittings" in a night. = There are three "sittings" per night. = Each night, there are three "sittings."


    Moderate Mod
    No, sittings here is being used in its restaurant sense of "time spent over a meal." If too many people stay in the restaurant for a time that is considerably longer than average, the restaurant won't be able to serve as many people - it won't have as many sittings - and it therefore won't make as much money.

    In is simply part of the prepositional phrase "in a night."

    And by the way, I've heard of BYO in reference to parties but never restaurants, so that's new to me as well.

    (Cross-posted with Myridon.)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    In the actual text that you quote I don't see ["sittings in"], I see ["sittings" in a night].

    If you look in the Wordreference dictionary you will see the following definition for 'sitting':

    2 a period of time when a group of people are served a meal.



    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you travel on a ship that doesn't have a large enough dining room for all the passengers at the same time, you might be given a choice between 6 and 8 pm for dinner. The ship's dining room has two sittings: 6 pm and 8 pm. A restaurant can schedule its tables in a similar way.
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