I’ve seen this go down at regular restaurants. I was waiting for a table to open up at popular dim sum restaurant in the SGV out in L.A., there were people walking in and then being given a table 5-10 minutes later…while I was still waiting. This happened at least 8 times during my hour plus wait.
you can actually “grease” the manager. a friend who goes to dim sum will do the old school “shake the hand with money” and get a table pretty fast. he says it only works for dim sum though.
In hindsight, that makes a lot of sense. I did see a lot of handshaking that day.