It seems like every restaurant uses a different, impossible-to-operate high chair. Here's Kat's discovery:
This falls under one of those "I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner" moments for me, but if it saves another frustrated new mommy from making a scene at a restaurant, I'll share!
Many times, when using (or trying to…) those wooden high chairs at a restaurant, I couldn't understand how freakishly small the last kid must have been to allow the straps to actually buckle together. Something had to be amiss, but what?
FINALLY, I saw another mom pull the straps straight up through the opening at the back of the chair… NOT up around the sides like I was doing, and had seen waitresses and others also do when trying to help me figure out why the straps that had been long enough for everyone else weren't long enough to go around my kid's lap.
An added bonus is that having the straps come from behind your kid leaves much less wiggle room than the other way, preventing the all-too-common (at least, with us) mid-dinner escape.
Related: Lots of kids-in-restaurant hacks