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The Restaurant Buy-Out Thread

Twice this week, my husband and I decided to dine at our local, favorite restaurant. Sad to say that on each occasion, the restaurant was sold out for a "private event." (O.K. It was Tavern in Brentwood). Thursday night, after being turned away, we walked across the street to Toscana. It was good, and clearly busier than usual with Tavern rejects.
I wish that Tavern and other well-loved restaurants would please telegraph closing for "special events"

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  1. i understand that you were disappointed, but even if they were to post a sign in the window announcing upcoming closure dates (which some restaurants do), you'd have to walk by to see it...and then, should the mood strike you to have dinner there on one of those nights, you'd have to remember that the sign said they were closed. seems to me it would be easier just to call before you go to make sure they're open for dinner service.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Anytime you choose to eat in a restaurant that doesn't take reservations or you don't have reservations then you run the risk of being turned away, private event or not.

    2. This is a tough issue and like so many tough ones people will have various opinions. I made it a rule when I owned restaurants that I was a public restaurant first and would never stop serving the public. Private events could be held in side rooms but I would not piss off the public.

      I have seen a restaurant close to us lose business because they hold so many private events. But it’s a catch 22 in today’s market. If you are struggling you need sales or you are just plain greedy imo. Over all I think it says something about the dedication the owner has to his main clientele which is the public patrons. I simply choose to never return to restaurants such as these.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RetiredChef

        "Over all I think it says something about the dedication the owner has to his main clientele which is the public patrons"
        playing devil's advocate here for a second...let's say an extremely loyal patron who had been dining at your restaurant regularly for many years wanted to hold a celebratory event there - wedding, anniversary party, whatever - and the size of the party required the entire space. would you really say no out of "dedication" to the general public?

        i'm not trying to be difficult - i'm genuinely curious about your take on it.

      2. Especially this time of year, I see it as the nature of the beast. It was a Thursday night....not sure how you wanted them to inform you (Website? Sign on door? Other than that I don't see it being feasible). If my favorite place can guarantee tables being filled by a private party, more power to them. I'll catch them next time around...no hard feelings.

        1. If you choose not to call ahead, then you take that risk. However, it's a great opportunity to possibly discover another great restaurant. Not to say that I wouldn't be disappointed but that's life!

          1. I'm not sure how they are supposed to "telegraph" their closings?

            You chose at the last minute to try and go to a particular restaurant that ended up being closed for a special event - how were *they* to know that it was that particular night you were going to want to eat there?

            Calling ahead (putting the onus on YOU to check) is really the only way you would know before walking up to the door, other than the restaurant putting it on their website calendar - but not all restaurants have weekly calendars, nor do all restaurants keep their website up-to-date.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LindaWhit

              Enough restaurants don't keep their website up to date that I don't bother checking locally. If I'm traveling, I'll browse websites, or if it's somewhere I've not been before, I'll check, but never for one of our usual places.

            2. Especially during December, I would not be upset if I arrived at a restaurant to find them closed for a private event (disappointed, but not upset.) The restaurants I frequent don't require reservations and are rarely packed on the days I eat out, so I would never think to call ahead or check their websites to see if they were closed or had long waits.
              That being said, one way restaurants could make this information known easily would be through Twitter. I follow a few local restaurants that tweet their daily specials and special events. It's easier then updating a website daily. Not that I'm suggesting this is the fix for everyone, but it seems like it's been working for these restaurants.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ivanova

                But not everyone uses Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. So really it only works for those that use that type of social media.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Absolutely. It's just one more way to get the word out. It's still up to the customer to check before going, whether by visiting a restaurant's website, their twitter feed, social media site or by calling them. It's just an easier solution for restaurants that don't want to or can't maintain their own websites.

                  Actually, a restaurant could have a website built that incorporates their twitter feed. Then they could simply send a tweet that they are closed today and it would get displayed on their site, their twitter page, Facebook page, etc.

              2. We eat out a lot, and our basic policy is always call first, even if they don't take reservations. Who knows if they've changed their closing night or had a power outage or decided this week will be the semi-annual vacation or everyone is going to the owner's wedding? There's just no reason not to do that if you have your heart set on dining at one particular place. And if you can make a reservation when you call, even if it's for half an hour from now, or put your name on a waiting list, so much the better.