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May 19, 2005 01:46 PM


  • h

I just made a reservation for tomorrow night at a national chain (will remain unnamed).

I asked for a 7:30 reservation. The person that answered the phone said "I am sorry sir, we are all filled up at that time. I have 6:45 or 7:45 available"

I said "7:45 would be perfect".

They said "Thank You, we will see you tomorrow at 7:45"

Did I miss something?

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  1. I'm not sure I am following you. I know that most chain restaurant which take reservations will only take them for a certain percentage of those tables (I believe our local PF Chang's will reserve 20 or 25% of their tables).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Janet

      They said no to a reservation at 7:30, but instead offered me a reservation at 7:45.

      1. re: hm

        Perhaps with the time they allow for a table, the 7:45 worked and the 7:30 did not.

        1. re: Janet

          Timing is everything. If you do 15-minute time slots, then some people will be ordering drinks and wine, some people will be ordering food, some will be eating, and some will be at dessert/cheque-paying, thus allowing the waitstaff (and the cooks!) not to be overwhelmed.

          Picture this: you have 80 tables. You do a quarter of your tables every 30 minutes. That means that 20 tables' worth of drinks will hit the bar at the same time, 20 tables' worth of food will hit the order line at the same time, 20 tables' worth of food will be ready at the same time, and 20 tables' worth of cheques with credit cards will be at the card scanner at the same time. It's huge delays then and no one is happy.

          Now divide those 80 tables into 15-minute slots. Now it's 10 tables' worth instead of 20 tables' worth and it flows much more smoothly.

    2. I'm not sure I follow you either. Are you wondering why a table which wasn't available at 7:30 is available at 7:45?

      1. Restaurants try to space out their reservations so that there won't be too many people at the same time. It makes the kitchen work much more smoothly.

        1. Having managed restuarants for over 15 years, from high-end (Wolfgang Puck) to mid-range, (my own 100 seat neighborhood bistro...I can say with confidence, that is is a good sign of a well run establishment. I only will book 4 tables in any 15 miniute time span. This fits our 100 seat, four server, four line cook team's ability to serve the guests in a timely fashion. Think of prompt greetings and prompt beverage service. The server can accomplish this then greet the next table. Walk-in guests are accommodated smoothly too. Spacing guests out time-wise is THE key to a smooth evening.

          2 Replies
          1. re: InTheBiz2

            Okay, I apologize.

            What I took as a "Whatever" type moment, was apparently a big issue. 15 minutes did not matter to me, but if it helps the night run smoother.

            Works for me.


            1. re: InTheBiz2

              Most customers have not a single clue how a restaurant functions, even whith clear explainations they refuse to catch what needs to happen for smooth service. Too often " It's all about me".

            2. The system you post of, if run properly, is a thing of beauty. That is the only thing I will every compliment a chain restaurant on.