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Jun 11, 2001 11:00 PM

We are only having drinks, but you don't want our business

  • s

The scene:A mid sunday afternoon on the east side of Broadway and 64th. A party of six asks the hostess at Josephina's if they can sit outside. There are perhaps 16 tables, half are taken. She asks "are you eating or having just drinks". We reply "just drinks". She says that outside tables are for dining only. No one feels like arguing-we leave, hot and angry, never ever to go to Josephina's again.

Should we have lied, sat down, ordered drinks and simply never ordered food? This was not a busy time of day (post brunch, pre dinner)-why could she have not sat us?

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  1. Hey, did you think of telling her something on the order of "We have dinner reservations at 8:00 at Cafe des Artistes and will be leaving around then." A party of 6 and they have 16 tables...hmmmm that's 1/3 of their outside area. As diners/drinkers we should try communicating a little. You might have had the lovely outside cocktail hour you had planned. who knows?

    5 Replies
    1. re: poet

      The hostess wasn't too smart. Unless she thought you were tourists from Iowa or somewhere, and would never come back. She turned you and your group away, and you will never come back. Not for drinks, not for food.
      The thing is, you have to let management know that they lost six possible customers. To a small restaurant, losing six repeat customers, especially if they live in the area, could be devastating. But, they have to know what they lost, due to this bad business judgement on their part.

      1. re: walter

        They didn't just lose these 6 customers. They'll lose some other customers who will hear/read this story and decide to boycott as well.


        1. re: Marge

          The hostess should have at least had a legitimate reason (as Heather below points out) for not serving alcohol outside. Otherwise, this was a bad move on her part. Obviously she was just following some arbitrary rule set by management. But to blow off ANY potential business, in a city where filling every chair and every table at every meal is crucial to a restaurant's survival, is foolhardy.

          1. re: Cheflambo

            Eh, I've seen the "this area is only if you're going to eat" thing as well - usually at pubs and such places though. The thing is, at the places I've seen it, most of their $$$ is being made from the booze anyways so I've never really understood it.

            If I'm at a place where it isn't explicit but I know they very much prefer you to order food I'll usually make a point to leave a menu, we'll be there for a while and will probably be ordering something as the night goes on (and we usually do).

            1. re: jgg13

              that was my take on it jgg, I've always understood the mark-up and lack of effort required make drinks much more profitable than food.

              plus a tipsy (not wasted mind you) customer is usu. (usu.) a cheerful and generous one IME. tipsy=tips.

    2. j
      Josh Mittleman

      No, you should not have lied. You could have said "If you let us sit here and order drinks, we'll be happy to leave as soon as you need the table." That sometimes works when you have a waiter who understands that her job is making money for her boss, not blindly following rules.

      1. Ask to speak with the restaurant manager even insist on it unless you simply do not want to deal
        many hostesses are following the rules of their managers/owners and of course you can let them know, if they need the table you will get up and go to the bar.

        1. Why be angry? The waitress, it sounds like, was doing what she was told. It also sounds like she was polite. Either go sit at the bar, or ask to see the manager, or just go elsewhere. But Josephina's is a restaurant, not a bar.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Peter

            disagree.. bar customers can be potential dinner customers. Maybe they liked the atmosphere, or like the drinks here.

            Unless you have a restaurant like Steve Hanen's (Blue Water, Coconut Grill, Park Avalon, Ocean Grill , Isabella's etc) whose customers are exploding onto the sidewalk, BAD business attitude to turn people away.

            1. re: niki

              After a few drinks you tend to get the munchies too. Drinks could've lead to deserts or something.


          2. I have known restaurants in CA that are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages outside if their patio is not included in the liquor license.
            Maybe this could have been a logistical problem and not a slight.