Bombay Cafe on Pico - inane reservation policy (moved from LA)
I'm about to say something not very nice about the Bombay Cafe but only because somebody has to.
They require a credit card to hold a reservation.
This may not be unique to them but it was my first encounter with this inane and rude requirement.
I was told "not to take it personal, it's just our policy because sometimes people leave us hanging."
Since when are customers are under an obligation to patronize any establishment? And what would the charge be if my seven friends and I were ten minutes late?
I've dined at Bombay Cafe in the past, several times with large parties, and have only good things to say about the food. This ridiculous policy (coupled with the staff's inability to form an intelligent sentence) will keep me from coming back any time soon. I hope you, too, will let the restaurant know that this is unacceptable and that not only is risk inherent in food service but the blatant inability to delight your customers far outweighs the measly monetary loss from a few no-shows on a busy Friday night.
(By the way, we all had a lovely, hefty price tag dinner at Nawab instead.)
I have heard of this with larger parties, say 15 & up. I also know some restaurants do this on big holidays, mother's day, father's day, easter, I wonder if this was because it is father's day weekend or has become their regular policy. Sounds like they lost a good sale last night.
Holy cow - so what do they do if you don't show - charge your card some sort of no-show penalty and forge your signature? Or do they go on an online shopping spree? That's really poor policy...
"...SOMETIMES people leave us hanging." is just part and parcel of this business. Like any business, one has to expect to incur some sort of risk; otherwise, it wouldn't be a business - it would be called a sure bet. If this "problem" needed to be addressed, might they instead just add, "I just wanted to mention that because we are so busy on the weekends, reservations are held for 30 minutes after the appointed time," or something to that affect. And if the word, "sometimes," were replaced with, "most of the time," or "all of the time," they would need to reconsider some or all aspects of their own business model, as this would imply that something was definitely wrong with how they were running their restaurant. In other words, no matter how one were to look at this, they have to learn to accept some risk, and not create policies that ultimately come down to being pennywise and pound foolish...
Well, for a place not that large, a table for 8 represents a significant percentage of its total seats, and if you have a reservation at 8pm or so, and "might" be running late, the restaurant does not know whether late translates to a no-show or just a late-show. Now if walk-ins cannot get a table, due to your lateness or no-showness, then they can never recover those lost dollars, and with daylight savings time generally offering one hour less of serving time since most people do not want to eat before at least sundown, it is money out of their pocket, big-time. Parties of 4 or 2 are more easily handled.
Irony should have it that you chose to go to Nawab, the place where the current owners of Bombay Cafe are from!!!