I went to Unforked (7337 W. 119th St). last Thursday night and discovered that even on a weekday, the upscale street taco joint is busy. You order at the counter, and Unforked gives you a beeper to display that your order is ready. It's during that time that the dining room got interesting.
The more crowded the dining room got, the more people started getting real. Instead of waiting for their beeper and order to be entered, Overland Park couples began splitting off. One would place the order and the other would claim seats. There was never any danger of not getting a seat; it just made it unlikely that a patient person might see the inside of a booth.
So, what's the etiquette when you're picking up your order from a counter? Do you have to wait until you've paid to claim a seat or should you be allowed to grab your table as soon as you walk in the door?