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Reservations

DoctorShavegood

Aaron Scissorhands
Ambassador
Reservations mean nothing today. You call or go on line and set your day and time but it seems that many establishments are indifferent to you, your time or your celebration. You have to stand in line behind patrons who did not set their reservations and are awarded a table...your table. What happened to the time where a man would call and set a time and date for his wfe for a romantic evening and be greeted with; "Welcome Mr. Smith, your table is waiting. You and your wife look fabulous. May we serve you drinks at the bar or at your table? May I take your coat Mr. Smith?"
 
In an attempt to offend no one restaurants end up offending the people that were courteous enough to be on time.

I have a similar problem with my barber. I really like the guy, but he's too polite to turn away the usual culprits that show up late. So everyone else suffers the rest of the day.
 

ouch

Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
Moderator Emeritus
I never had a problem with that. It seems that whenever I show up at a place, everyone leaves.
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
Moderator
I went to a restaurant like that once in Chicago. Don't remember the name. Don't even remember what I ate. Or where it was at in Chicago. I can't even tell you if they called me "Mr. Jones".

It was really memorable.
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
Moderator
Oh! You know what I do remember... When our table was ready and we left the bar a waiter carried our drinks to the table for us. I thought that was some fancy stuff! But I don't remember much else. I don't think they liked my jeans.
 
I'm in North Jersey and often eat in Manhattan as well. In my are there are literally tons of restaurants to choose from. The sheer number makes picking a restaurant overwhelming sometimes. But it also provides me with both flexibility and leverage. If we go to a restaurant and the food is really good, we will most likely be back. The food is key. But we also care about how we are treated. And if I start coming to a particular restaurant with some regularity, I expect to be treated a little better than a one-time customer. But, in reality, if a restaurant has it's act together, they will make every customer feel like a regular. As soon as the food doesn't cut it, I'm gone for good. If service is poor, I'm gone. I realize that things happen. After all I was a busboy and waiter for 10 years during my high school and college years. So if something goes wrong, I get that but you better do something about it to make up for it. If you don't, I'm gone for good and I'll tell people about it and I'll post a negative review. I also post positive reviews. But if a restaurant doesn't live up to expectations, there are tons of others looking for my business.
 

emwolf

Contributor
I'm in North Jersey and often eat in Manhattan as well. In my are there are literally tons of restaurants to choose from. The sheer number makes picking a restaurant overwhelming sometimes. But it also provides me with both flexibility and leverage. If we go to a restaurant and the food is really good, we will most likely be back. The food is key. But we also care about how we are treated. And if I start coming to a particular restaurant with some regularity, I expect to be treated a little better than a one-time customer. But, in reality, if a restaurant has it's act together, they will make every customer feel like a regular. As soon as the food doesn't cut it, I'm gone for good. If service is poor, I'm gone. I realize that things happen. After all I was a busboy and waiter for 10 years during my high school and college years. So if something goes wrong, I get that but you better do something about it to make up for it. If you don't, I'm gone for good and I'll tell people about it and I'll post a negative review. I also post positive reviews. But if a restaurant doesn't live up to expectations, there are tons of others looking for my business.
the higher the price on my meal the more I expect. And yes, Mahattan has probably 200 restaurants that would be the best restaurant in town in just about any other city in the US.
 
Some places just don't turn walk-in customers away anymore and that's the issue. This is why the reservation was created. So walk-ins would be turned away for not making a reservation, if there was no more room to accommodate. I'm not sure where you're dining, Aaron, but I've never had this issue. I don't need to spend my cash at a place that gives a poor experience right off the bat, let alone not honoring a planned out and thoughtful reservation to let them know you're an expected diner.

All that said, I wouldn't give anyone a hard time about it. Maybe an email to management, if I really enjoyed the atmosphere, food, and service following. Otherwise, I'd bite my tongue and just never return. Good restaurants aren't based on popularity. They're based on being good.
 

DoctorShavegood

Aaron Scissorhands
Ambassador
Thanks for the input. See, we don't go out that much, so when we do it's on a special occasion or celebration. That's when all heck breaks out. My advice is never, ever, never go out on Valentines'.

It's like a...like a...

Stampede.gif
 
My wife and I ran into this on our last vacation. We showed up at 6:55 for a 7:00 reservation, and they said it would be 20-30 minutes. After a quick discussion with the manager about how funny it was that such a nice restaurant had such a shoddy reservation system, they happened to find a table for us at 7:05 and comped our drinks.

I don't mind having to wait 5 minutes so the restaurant can prep the table. I do mind the model some restaurants are using where a reservation is just a placeholder that's dropped at the end of the walk-up list at your reservation time.
 
hm, I've never had that problem when I make a reservation. I mean, they don't scrape and grovel at my feet or anything, but in my experience my table is usually ready, even if we show up 20 min before our reservation (unless its a later seating).

I did have a weird experience last weekend. We were downtown, and decided to go to a popular restaurant with some friends that were with us. We had no reservations, and have 3 kids between all of us, so we showed up right at 5 when the restaurant opened. There was a small press of maybe 3 other groups in front of us waiting to get in. Then a guy shows up behind me, and asks if we have reservations. I say we don't but I don't know about the people in front of us. This guy proceeds to try to wedge his entire group in front of me.

now this is not something I agree with. If you have a reservation, it does NOT give you instant access to the hostess. It just means they should have a seat for you when you get up to the hostess.
 
now this is not something I agree with. If you have a reservation, it does NOT give you instant access to the hostess. It just means they should have a seat for you when you get up to the hostess.
Yeah, that's weird. How long is the hostess going to take to process the line? 5 minutes, maybe 6? That's well within the margin of error for a reservation. Sounds like the guy was just impatient and found an excuse to cut in line.
 
Yeah, that's weird. How long is the hostess going to take to process the line? 5 minutes, maybe 6? That's well within the margin of error for a reservation. Sounds like the guy was just impatient and found an excuse to cut in line.
I think calling the guy's behavior "impatient" is too generous. It's called being rude and obnoxious and I would tell him that I am next and he and his group can wait.
 
I remember that when I was young, pretty much any place that was "fancy" enough that it took reservations, and required clothing nicer than shorts/jeans*, it was normal to approach the hostess, give your name, and you were more-or-less sat right away (maybe a few moments' wait for menus, gathering of the waiter, etc.). Walk-ups were seen waiting at a bar, if one existed, or were penned in a waiting area.
Now, either I'm not going to fancy enough places**, or the practice doesn't exist any more in that manner. One would speculate that the decline of punctuality is a big factor in this. "Fashionably late" kills it. And you really can't blame restaurants for this.

*don't even get me started on the shorts/jeans.
**I'm not.
 

cleanshaved

Munted Old Cog
Moderator
Nope, I don't get that at all.
There are a few restaurant here that don't let you book anymore. They are always full, so guess it is one less task their staff have to worry about. I prefer to book myself, so really don't go to these places often.

How long did you have to wait, Aaron?
 
I can't recall ever having an issue but then we like to eat early so often we're first in if the place is just opening for dinner, we get the choice of anywhere in the restaurant that could accommodate our numbers . If it were an issue, the places we like are usually clustered with other options so we could easily take our money elsewhere if it wasn't wanted at the issue maker's.
dave
 

DoctorShavegood

Aaron Scissorhands
Ambassador
hm, I've never had that problem when I make a reservation. I mean, they don't scrape and grovel at my feet or anything, but in my experience my table is usually ready, even if we show up 20 min before our reservation (unless its a later seating).

I did have a weird experience last weekend. We were downtown, and decided to go to a popular restaurant with some friends that were with us. We had no reservations, and have 3 kids between all of us, so we showed up right at 5 when the restaurant opened. There was a small press of maybe 3 other groups in front of us waiting to get in. Then a guy shows up behind me, and asks if we have reservations. I say we don't but I don't know about the people in front of us. This guy proceeds to try to wedge his entire group in front of me.

now this is not something I agree with. If you have a reservation, it does NOT give you instant access to the hostess. It just means they should have a seat for you when you get up to the hostess.
If the line is really long then you won't make your scheduled time. A good hostess should release this and ask everyone in the line if they have a reservation. Or, the hostess should call your name when your reservation time is up.
 

DoctorShavegood

Aaron Scissorhands
Ambassador
Nope, I don't get that at all.
There are a few restaurant here that don't let you book anymore. They are always full, so guess it is one less task their staff have to worry about. I prefer to book myself, so really don't go to these places often.

How long did you have to wait, Aaron?
Well, when it was on Valentines it was 1 hour and 45 minutes...and I had reservations planned a month in advance. I asked the waitress once we got to the table and she said the management let too many patrons sit that did not have reservations.
 

emwolf

Contributor
the truly fancy places I've been (Jean George, La Cirque and places like that) reservations have never been an issue. At most 2-4 minutes of wait time. Disney theme parks have a horrid system where you have a block of time to show up and then they might seat you within the hour.
 
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