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Apr 12, 2000 01:54 PM

Seating etiquette

  • l

Last night, I arrived a few minutes early for a 7PM reservation at Lupa. I was asked to wait at the bar until my two companions arrived.
It wasn't even 7:10 and the hostess asked me, "Do you know if the other members of your party are on their way?" Luckily, they walked in right then.
Is it me or was that pushy?

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  1. Let's look at it another way: how often do you (or have you heard others) grouse, "jeez, I had an xx PM reservation and they made me wait yy minutes! That's not right!" Don't we all hate it when it appears a reservation time you received was only a suggestion - or the place has built in an intentional delay designed to pry a few bucks out of you at the bar? -- I'm only making the point - perhaps badly - that the place took the rez in coordination with other reservations for that night. The woman was probably trying to balance the lateness of your friends against the book of other diners expected later - some of whom the house would expect to place at the table where you were seated. Mutual courtesy should be the key words here: expect the house to seat you on time, and in return honor your reservation times.

    1. As long as you asked.....it was you.
      You picked one of the hottest restaurants in the City with significant demand for the very few tables in the back room which is where the reserved tables are found.
      Furthermore the hostess, if she said just what you quoted her as saying, appeared to be quite courteous.

      If your friends have difficulty arriving on time and you happened to enjoy the wonderful food they serve there, I suggest that the next time you go, don't make a reservation, eat in the front room and wait anywhere from 45 minutes up to 2 hours with the rest of the masses.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Michael

        Guess what? I did sit in the front room.

        1. re: Liza

          guess what then... they gave your "reserved" table away because the back room is the one they use for the reserves....and I do know what I'm talking about. I have VERY close friends who work there.

          1. re: Michael

            Yep, Michael's right on this one. The miniscule back room is the only part of the restaurant that takes reservations.

            As the guy who railed against the hour-long wait for my reservation at Bouley Bakery way back, I have to agree with most of the posters: people who show up just 10 or 15 minutes late can screw things up for people with reservations later in the evening. A little prodding from the hostess seems entirely in line, particularly given the tiny size of Lupa.

        2. re: Michael

          ...or show up early, enjoy a drink at the bar, and wait not at all for a table. By the time your entree appears, there will be a line growing at the door. Actually, when I ate there not long ago, we were not rushed at all, but left to dine at our own pace, despite the hungry masses waiting for a table - and there was quite a crowd by 7:15.

        3. j
          Jessica Shatan

          This is like the reverse of most people's complaints! Most people are ignored and seated late and come here to complain.
          I'm impressed that the hostess was trying to handle the reservations well. It may have been the difference betw. giving you a table that was currently ready or slating you for one she knew would open up by 7:30.
          For the record, my parents used to be chronically late and their mantra was "there's a 15 minute grace period" and the minute they knew they would be 16 minutes late they would call the restaurant to notify them.
          What exactly did you expect when you had a res.? Were your friends careless or did something come up? Did you want to be seated at the table to wait for them? I'm not attacking you, I am just genuinely curious.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jessica Shatan

            Hey gang, I was on time! I agree, we should all be on time, patrons and restaurants alike.
            What rubbed me the wrong way, was the accusatory way I was questioned. That's all. I've had issues with front of house manners at other venues with this group before. I was throwing it out there - out here, really - to see if others had issues with rudeness.

            1. re: Liza
              Jessica Shatan

              Um, I think we all knew YOU were on time. That didn't seem to be the issue with me or with Lupa. Wasn't it that the rest of your party was late?

              1. re: Liza

                >Hey gang, I was on time!

                Noted, but it was your friends who were late. Should the hostess wait until they arrived to find out if they were on their way.

                >the accusatory way I was questioned

                Your first post didn't make it sound accusatory. I have an issue with rudeness, but this sounds more as if the hostess was collecting necessary information. Of course we don't know the tone of her voice, but it was a legtitmate question.

                Link: http://www.worldtable.com

            2. I don't think it was pushy to ask if the remaining party members were in transit. I'm sure other parties were waiting to be seated and if your friends were going to be really late, maybe they were going to seat the party next on the list after you. Tough to hold up a bunch of people in the queue with an open table just sitting there while you wait for latecomers. Most restaurants get burned every now and then when people with reservations blow them off without notice. In light of this it seems reasonable that the hostess attempt to differentiate between latecomers and no-shows. We all know that moving into, out of, and within NYC is unpredictable at best so I'm sure most busy restaurants are accustomed to having a lot of their reservations show up a bit late.