JOSIE what are you thinking II
OK, so I came across the topic of Josies reservation debate, and my conclusion is that none of you none of you understand the business. Josie's only seats 75 people, he policy is for 7 or more people. Thats two tables of four. That represents 10% of table space. to put it into perspective, 10% of Spagos space would be well over 30 people. Yet they require credit cards for parties over 12 people.
Some Dentist and Doctors will charge you a fee if you miss your appointment. Attorneys will bill you a .1 for just picking up a phone to reach you. Los Angeles has a small new restaurant which takes up to 4 weeks to get into on a friday or saturday night. Why shouldnt they protect themselfs against people that pull no shows? or against people that book a table for 8 and only 6 show up. Or should she over book like so many restaurants in los angeles. The foods great, very romantic and elegant setting. The staff is terrific. If you foodies or so against her policy, dont go. in this day and age, only 5% of the restaurants survive. To get the doors open it can take well over a year, and up to millions of dollars. I agree with her policy, and support her.
ok ok as a fellow Hound this is what I was thinking.
We are a small restaruant and the weekends have been so busy and that's great! However, we started to get a lot of no/shows on large parties, so last November we started to do what several other restaurants do, take credit card confirmations. I got several fax confirmations forms from other restaruants, (at least 5 to work from) and made up our own. I tried to be fair and it has always been for parties OVER 6. We do parties from 7 up to 16. Some restaurants don't even take parties larger than 10 or 12. Anyway, we wanted to be able to do large parties and make it work. We also do parties in the back bar from 20 to 36, a private room that requires a set menu.
The Fax says:
Due to the small size of our restaurant and the nature of this business, reservations for parties of 7 or more must be accompanied by a credit card conformation. We regret any inconcenience that this causes, and thank you for your understanding.
Just this Saturday we had 2-(2)tops and 1-(4)top that did not show-up even though they called to confirm their reservation the day before. Sadly, we could not even accommadate people that were on our wait list, that really wanted to dine here. That really bums me out!
Guys, Im just trying to run a business and we all work really hard trying to please everyone. I think I have a truly sincere staff working here. I spend a lot of time with them and try to hire courteous and professional people. We are small enough to feel like a family and hope that feeling comes through from your first phone call to the moment you leave our "home".
thanks to everyone, your comments and attention on this subject has enlightened us all.
My goodness. What a thoughtful explanation.
Well all of the high praise I have read about your restaurant must no doubt be true. I'm afraid we're going to have to add to the general crowd at your door step, and move you up from a "probably should" to a "must do."
I'm glad to see Josie respond and explain the reasonable and necessary business aspects of their policy. In the end Josie is a great restaurant with great staff. What we're talking about is a policy that is a factor in rare cases. Otherwise (with a table of six or fewer) it's a non-issue. People that don't show up cost the restaurant, and in the end make it harder for the rest of us fans to get a table. Not to mention to the extent that the restaurant loses revenue, the rest of the paying customers have to subsidize these losses. Seems more reasonable to me that the person at fault (who is a no show) foots their own bill. Perhaps if we as patrons were more consientious, fewer of our favorites would go by the wayside. Just because it's old habit in the restaurant world for people to be no shows does not make it right.
Most of us who love Josie know that the "air" of these policies doesn't come across in a typical experience there. The staff (including Josie) are professional and very personable. Not snooty at all. The room is nice, and the food is excellent. To be turned off by a seldom occurring issue is a shame.
WOW! First, it is obvious you are passionate about the business you are in by your response. Second, while I have not visited your establishment, from what I have read about it here and elsewhere it seems to me that you must be doing a lot of things right. Third, I linked to your website, what a menu, it all sounds wonderful, so I will definately have to pay you a visit. Fourth, unfortunately my visit will have to wait a while since my doctor is putting me back on the liquid diet tomorrow. Fifth, then of course there is Mrs. Chino Wayne to win over (who's idea of haute cuisine before she met her future hubby, was a hot dog and a coke) so that we can both enjoy an evening at Josie. Sixth, keeping doing what you are doing. Seventh, Chowhounds, support this establishment, become regulars so that you are known by the staff anad management and then will never have the nerve to play the restaurant reservation game (not that any self respecting Chowhounder would do that).
-Your Correspondent In The Dining Wilderness That Is The Inland Empire
Hobo, thanks for the primer. For the record, my conclusion, stated in my prior posts, was that Josie's implementing the cancellation policy for our friends' party of 6 was inappropriate and the $20/head cancellation/no show charge was punitive rather than reasonable. I'm pleased Josie apparently now requires the deposit only for groups larger than six. The restaurant's size (and ambiance) demands it.
Like you, I support restaurants' establishing reasonable reservations policies. I continue, however, to believe that the $20/head cancellation/no show charge is a bit over the top.
I repeat: for the Grubs, Josie remains the destination restaurant of choice for the package -- food, service, ambiance.