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Feb 12, 2001 03:16 PM

Pipa oddness/rudeness

  • c

A friend of mine just called for a reservation for 6 people for a Wed night, and the reservationist told her that we couldn't be accomodated because they only have one table for more than 5 and it's booked for 8pm. My friend asked if they could put some tables together, and the reservationist snipped, "If I start putting tables together then I can't sit other people." Does anyone else find it strange that a restaurant would turn away a group because of the possibility of "other people?" Sheesh.

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  1. I don't understand their reasoning. If, for example, you move three tables of two together, or a table for 4, and a table for 2, both cases equalling 6, you get 6 customers. If you keep the tables separately, you still get 6 customers if you sell all 6 seats. So it should equal out.

    7 Replies
    1. re: walter

      Not to play devil's advocate or anything, but larger groups tend to take longer so the turnover would be slower. That would be the financial argument.

      Then again, moving tables might really screw up their timing and setup. Maybe they don't have room to string 3 tables together (eg. the 3 tables are scattered).

      That being said, I think it's usually a good policy to do as much as you can to keep people happy...and there's never an excuse for being snappy.

      1. re: Fred

        I've never heard of Pipa - is it new? Anyway, it sounds like you were on the receiving end of a hostess with attitude. I would call and ask for the Manager, if you REALLY still want to eat there. But if her attitude is indicative of the service, why bother. Too many other places to go.

        1. re: gini

          Pipa is the new Douglas Rodriguez tapas-style place in ABC carpet on 19th and Broadway. Thanks for your advice, but I agree--too many other places to go. I'd rather eat somewhere that would be happy to book a table for 6.

          1. re: Chowbabe

            You know, they don't really take reservations (or at least didn't), and were probably making some kind of accommodation to you to begin with. It's primarily a bar, with some very good food.

            1. re: Pepper

              That's simply not true. They do take reservations--I made them for my previous visit for two, and they are on

              1. re: Chowbabe

                I stand corrected. Pipa did open with a no-reservations policy, and I've always just strolled in. Or more accurately, strolled in and waited a while at the bar.

                1. re: Pepper

                  As an ex-restaurateur dilettante (shirt? what shirt?), Let me weigh in with a few comments on the large party rezzie thing.

                  1) Unfortunately, people often don't show up for their reservations. I've noted that this is often the case with large parties. One couple makes rezzies for one place, another makes them somewhere else and alley oop, they pick one on the fly. Now you have a clump of tables pushed together, ye're holding up other folks and in a small joint this can really muck things up.

                  2) Large groups sometimes arrive in waves and rarely are the early birdies actually early. As a patron myself, I believe it is my god-given right to arrive up to 10 minutes late for a reservation, but if you get the first couple arriving 5 minutes late, the second at 15 and 2 stragglers showing up whenever, this also mucks things up.

                  3) Hostesses are often not a good measure of the overall service. Restaurateurs seem to think that hiring pretty young things for this position is de rigeur. Whether this is because they think the patrons like 'em or just cuz they like being the boss of a PYT, I'm not sure. Anyway, hostesses tend to come and go and are often given a bunch of rules and very little discretion. As they often seem to feel that their work is beneath one of their beauty and talent, they can sometimes be surly to boot.

                  Ask for a manager, assure them sincerely that your party will show up in a timely fashion and chances are you will be accomodated. If not, write the place off!

    2. I'll never forget a brunch many years ago in Boston. We were a large group and arrived early - waited for the place to open. I ordered french toast, which came with bacon. When I asked if I could substitute sausage, the waitress said no, because what if they ran out of sausage later and someone else couldn't get it.

      It was downhill from there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lisa Z

        had to be durgan park, no?