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Jul 27, 2008 05:59 AM

What do you do if you get a bad table?

Last night, my husband and I went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. We had reservations to sit outside on their patio. The hostess led us to a tiny plastic table that was basically right off of the kitchen, it was barely even on the patio. Because of the noise, smell, and traffic from the kitchen, plus the less than nice view, I asked to move. The only other open table on the paatio was a four top, the hostess tried to dissuade us from moving our table with the logic they wanted to keep it open if a table of four came in. I persisted - in a very nice and not rude at all way. She did move us, but I did overhear her complaining to one of the waiters about it. Anyway, my husband seemed mortified. Was I wrong?

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  1. You had a reservation. The four who "might" show up had not extended that courtesy to the restaurant. They may share the small plastic table near the kitchen. Your husband is fortunate to have you to stand up for your family.

    1. No, I don't think you were wrong. I am sure the restaurant knows it is not the most desirable table in the place.(Maybe you should have told the mgr). My husband acts the same way when I ask to move. I am always looking around the resto as we are being seated and if I see a better spot, I ask right away before we even sit (as DH rolls his eyes, but he is usually glad after the fact). That waitress was rude to let you hear her remark. Doesn't she know that is reflected in her tip? Had she been gracious and moved you without fail, then her tip should reflect that as well IMHO.

      1. It's one thing to get an awful table as a walk-in, but if you've made a reservation, there's no reason you should be getting a table that's clearly inferior. If they didn't have any acceptable 2-tops on the patio when you made the reservation, they should have offered you another time or an inside table.

        1. Were you wrong? Not at all. However if their policy was to have only 4 people sit at a 4-top, you could have been moved indoors, even though your reservation was for outdoors on the patio. They're certainly within their right to keep a 4-top for 3 or 4 people, IMO. But she didn't say that, AND you had made a reservation. Sounds like whoever manages the reservations and walk-in seating didn't do too well.

          I once went to a restaurant in Andover, MA with a girlfriend - we were early, and had no reservations (it was a Tuesday). When I asked for a table for two, they asked "in the dining room?" (they also had seating at the bar, but we wanted a quiet place to catch up with each other). So into the dining room we went - where there was (at that early hour) no one. They brought us to the very back of the room next to the kitchen door. My friend knew instantly I wasn't going to agree to sit there, and she was right. I said "Any way we could be seated closer to the front window instead of back here?" She said "those tables are reserved" or "those tables are for 4 or more people", but then she said "I have this table here" (just one up from where we were.)

          I declined and said we'd sit in the bar, where we got absolutely phenomenal service. I was peeved at automatically being brought to a table near the kitchen, and midway through our meal, I quietly asked the bartender about it. She apologized and said that the owner had recently decided that it was better to have mostly large tables all at the front near the window to make it seem like the restaurant was busier - but it was also the fact that we were two women. I looked at her in astonishment at that last statement and she said "I know, I know - please don't hold it against us!" I didn't, as we had superb service, and she got tipped accordingly - not as "two women" would have tipped, in the owner's mind.

          Oh - and those tables that were "reserved"? Didn't have anyone sitting there when we left a few hours later. Nor did they midway through our meal when my friend went to the ladies room.

          1. I feel that you were entirely right asking for a better table.
            Because we always make reservations I have absolutely no compunction at all asking for a different table when, being led to our table I spy an unoccupied one in a better location. DH doesn't roll his eyes, nor does the Host or Hostess ever question it. They may not like it, but we are seated at the second table politely. If the dinner is for a special occasion I usually tell the person taking the reservation. Although I don't expect any special treatment, it seems to make the dinner go more smoothly.