Ahem, excuse me while I pull my soapbox over to the computer. Today, I am going to point out what, I hope for many of you, is the obvious: restaurant reservations are a commitment. When you make one, you’ve promised a business to bring a certain number of patrons to their door at a specific time. They, in turn, have promised to hold that table for your party no matter how many other people call asking for it.
It’s like buying a concert ticket – unless you sell your ticket to a scalper, the seat will be yours. The only difference at a restaurant is no one expects you to pay in advance. (I know that some restaurants expect a credit card number and charge for no-shows, but they are not the majority. If you are interested, you can read more about that here at Serious Eats).
So why, then, do so many people think it’s okay to call three or four restaurants and make reservations for the same time on the same night so that they can have their choice of places to go when the last minute arrives? Although I’ve heard maitre d’s say that the worst culprits are single men who make reservations at a range of popular restaurants so that they can impress their dates by offering to take them wherever they like, in my experience it’s women who make multiple reservations the most often.
Case in point: I have an acquaintance who likes to organize big nights out for a social circle. I’ve told her repeatedly why making multiple reservations for 6 or 8 people and then not showing up is disrespectful and financially harmful to restaurateurs but she just doesn’t seem to get it. In fact, she doesn’t even call the restaurants to cancel the booking once she and her friends have made their mind up about where to go. Blerg!
I know my readers are too sophisticated and considerate to do this kind of stuff so I ask you to pass this post around to anyone you hear of who doesn’t get that leaving a table empty for 30 minutes on a Friday or Saturday night while the maitre d’ waits for you is just as egregious as skipping a dentist’s appointment. If you can’t get there, then I think you should call within a reasonable cut off time (say three hours in advance).
What do you think?