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Jan 17, 1999 06:41 PM

reservation dances

  • c

I'm wondering what fellow chowhounds think of the demanding reservation policies frequently
encountered in 'hot' restaurants?? For years I have accepted calling to confirm at a designated time/
day, now we have to call on a certain day, as earlier as one can, to reserve a month ahead. Now, Union
Pacific has asked for a credit card to hold a reservation!!!???!!!!! anyone else think THIS is a bit MUCH
I am thinking of not going, if we all change our step, will they change their dance??

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  1. I can see your frustration but I'm sure that one area
    in which restaurant owners will agree that the
    customer is "always wrong" is in making and following
    through on reservations. The next time you are in your
    favorite restaurant ask the person handling this
    function how many "no shows" they have had. Chefs
    purchase food and staff their kitchen based on demand
    and one of the indicators of this is the almighty
    reservation. There is a sushi restaurant in LA that
    will charge your credit card $100 if you decide not to
    show or cancel your reservation because there
    purchases (fresh fish flown in daily!!??..$$$)are
    based on reservations.
    The reason they are dancing is because we the customer
    have changed our step by blowing off reservations all
    to frequently. So if you decide not to go please
    cancel your reservation.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mark

      Of course, you could simply avoid "hot" restaurants...

      1. re: steve d.

        Boycott them. Why bother eating at such places where
        getting a reservation is even harder than getting past
        an unfriendly and nasty NY Coopo board? Where's the
        simple pleasure and fun anyway? Dinner at a restaurant
        is supposed to be a friendly, pleasant, relaxing and
        memorable culinary experience--certainly not a 100-meter

      2. re: Mark

        I am always amazed by this debate because in a million
        years I would never NOT cancel a reservation if my
        plans changed. I even call if I'm running a little
        late for a reservation, which actually embarasses my
        husband, but believe me, the restaurant is very
        appreciative (and often amazed). I can't believe
        enough people actually don't follow this common
        courtesy for it to be enough of a problem to prompt
        restaurants to take this kind of an offensive, self-
        protective stand. As a good scout, being punished by
        these byzantine policies annoys the hell out of me.
        Afte sitting on hold for a decade to MAKE a res. at
        Balthazar recently, you can image how I felt sitting
        on hold for an additional decade to cancel. I was
        told that there is another number for cancelling but I
        assure you it was not given to me. (Rather than be
        apologetic for my inconvenience and thankful that I
        stayed on to cancel, the woman was kind of snotty,
        which amazed me under the circumstances...)
        I made a res at Rage the other day and was asked for
        my credit card #. I refused. I was then asked to
        call 24 hours ahead to confirm and, feeling cocky, I
        said "How about if I just call you if my plans change
        and I WON'T be coming?" The woman actually accepted
        this arrangement, though, to be on the safe side (it
        was a business dinner and included my boss) I DID call
        the day before to confirm...
        At Campagna last New Years I was actually asked to
        come to the restaurant IN PERSON beforehand to leave a
        CASH deposit - they wouldn't accept a credit card #!
        (On top of that the Maitre d' was such an arrogant,
        rude A-hole when I did come with my crispy cash, that
        I wrote a letter to Mr. Strausman and we ended up
        being comped half of the meal. The whole experience
        was so unpleasant and stressful that I STILL wouldn't
        go back. The Maitre d' came over to apologize not
        once but twice during the evening and I think we felt
        worse than he did by the end of it all!)

        In any case, my final words of wisdom:

        A) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS cancel your reservations if
        your plans change.

        B) Don't make the reservation if you're
        offended/inconvenienced/annoyed by a restaurant's
        reservation policy, and be sure to let them know that
        that is WHY you are declining to be their guest.

        A + B should work out for the best...

      3. f

        Infuriating and almost laughable (if it weren't so damn annoying). Ignore the chimps and simply move on. There are still quite a few out there that exercise courtesy.

        1. Same thing happemned to us re: the credit card when we tried to reserve at Union Pacific. Guess what?
          We went elsewhere. I don't need to go there THAT badly!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. I was also turned off by Union Pacific's reservation
            policy. After being told about all of their
            reservation policies, I got fed up and told them not
            to bother. I guess restaurants need some protection
            against no-shows, but threatening to charge you credit
            card if you don't show up seems a bit excessive (and
            very likely illegal).