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Planning meals for group trip/vacation

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gsmoose May 29, 2008 04:14 PM

How do I ask my friends to confirm their spot at dinner at restaurants without sounding... dictatorial/pushy/disrespectful?

A bunch of college buddies and I are going on a vacation together... first group trip ever. We're about 2 weeks away and since no one has made any suggestions regarding what to do in the city we're visiting, I drew up a temporary itinerary of attractions and restaurants (courtesy of Chowhound, of course).

I haven't heard much feedback in terms of restaurant choices. My concern now is dinner reservations. I'd like to make them ASAP so I need to know who is in (if any) for the restaurants I've suggested.

The rest of my party of 8 is not as concerned w/food as I am... while they enjoy good food, they're a little more money-minded in that regard (and we have picky eaters plus varying income levels). So my question is (again)...
How do I ask my friends to confirm their spot at dinner at these restaurants without sounding... dictatorial/pushy/disrespectful?

Much thanks, fellow eaters!

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    jeanmarieok RE: gsmoose May 29, 2008 04:42 PM

    Tough one. Usually when we travel with a group, we throw it out there that there are a couple restaurants we'd like to try. I have been pretty unsuccessful in getting any confirmation before the trip, because usually we don't have a full itinerary of activities set. And imho, non-foodies don't want to work their vacation around a reservation - there's always a decent pub with a beer nearby.

    If there were a place I'd hate to miss, I'd make a reservation for the group, but plan to be flexible re: anyone else coming with me.

    1. m
      moh RE: gsmoose May 29, 2008 10:50 PM

      I find you sometimes have to take the bull by the horns. Large groups of travellers can be gripped with inertia, and often they appreciate when someone takes charge.

      I would suggest you look at your list and try to find a few high priority places that you don't want to miss. I would then assess how many of these places truly require a reservation. For example, if you were planning to go to Per Se in NYC, a reservation is a must, whereas a local pub may not need this sort of planning. I would then send out an email saying "Hey, I would really like to go to ..... on Friday night, but we need to make reservations. It's really great! Who is in? Let me know by ....." This is friendly, but direct, and should do the trick. I am also ok if not everyone wants to join me. You don't have to spend every waking moment with everyone in a large group.

      I would also avoid overplanning reservations. Choose 1 or 2 special destinations. Leave the rest to chance (Well, not entirely... I usually have a list of places I want to hit, organized by neighbourhood, and I do a fair amount of suggesting. Fortunately, my friends seem not to mind too much, in fact, seem to like it. But I try to be flexible and not insist on always getting my way. Some days, you are all too tired to try that great CHowfind across town).

      1. l
        lgss RE: gsmoose Jun 2, 2008 05:44 AM

        Consider including some places that don't require reservations. In my mind places that require reservations are generally pricey and require dressing up to some degree. It may also be that the others in the group want a flexible schedule without having to be somewhere particular at a specific time...

        1. Miss Needle RE: gsmoose Jun 3, 2008 08:39 AM

          Are you guys going to be joined at the hip throughout the entire vacation? If you are, you will probably have to make a few reservations, especially for a party of 8. Not all restaurants will be able to accommodate a group of that size. Perhaps just Emailing them asking for a confirmation on a couple of reservations may be helpful, saying that with such a large group that reservations become more important. But if you are all doing everything together, you will probably have to sometimes go with the majority and eat at places that aren't your first choice. A friend of mine once did a cross-country trip with a bunch of guys and ate at more McDonalds than he could count.

          1. QueenPeach RE: gsmoose Jun 3, 2008 08:54 AM

            I'm doing exactly the same thing right now. I'm going on a group trip with 8 people to Las Vegas. They are friends from high school and college.. some are foodies, some want to eat at buffets for every meal. I sent out a bunch of emails for food options, some economical ones for walk-ins only and a few fine dining options. We got together one day (feedback never comes through email) and the people interested in a nice meal all compromised on where to eat and those who weren't interested, will meet us afterwards. I did remind them of reservations so it sped things up a bit. Mine went well b/c we agreed that we'd just split up for activities that not everyone would be interested in. Can you do that? Or send a "last chance" email saying that you're really interested in trying this place(s), would love if everyone could all go together, reservations are absoulutely necessary so you need feedback asap. Good luck!

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