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Restaurant Reservations -

Do you keep them?

CNN Article <and mention of Chowhound> with poll.


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  1. Yes. I make a reservation because I want to eat there.

    1. Yes, I keep them. Unlike this a$$hat who comments on the no-show charge:

      "SW - If you do charge me, I'll dispute the card on my credit card, celebrate when the charge is removed, never patronize your restaurant again, discourage everyone I know from eating at your restaurant and trash your establishment on every restaurant review website known to man. Vindictive? Perhaps. Totally deserved? Most definitely."

      It's people like that where I'd hope the credit card company says "Sorry - you knew the deal when you made the reservation. The charge stands."

      And luckily, most people would realize that SW is an a$$hat and that his/her opinion means very little when it comes to a restaurant like Alinea. Or probably any restaurant, for that matter. Except McDonald's or Olive Garden.

      7 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Ironically, it's because of people like SW that restaurants have to charge for no-show reservations. He/she is the cause of all the problems and then complaining about it. And, we are credit card users and restaurant patrons pay for it.

        1. re: chowser

          Exactly. Self-entitlement at its worst.

        2. re: LindaWhit


          Did I miss a post along the way? I keep seeing references to "SW," but do not see that reference. Did CH remove a reply? Did I sleep through something?

          Just curious,


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            It's a reply post in the CNN article. 5 down from the top.

            1. re: funniduck

              Do you mean "I do not make reservations - I just show up?" on the survey?

              Maybe I am still missing something very important here.



            2. re: Bill Hunt

              As funniduck mentioned, Bill, it's in the comments section of the CNN article.

              1. re: LindaWhit


                Now I see. Funniduck was spot on, but I was too dense to understand what was being said. Sorry Funniduck - my bad.

                Thanks, and now I see what you guys were referring to.


          2. Oh god no part 2 please.

            1. The good news is, the poll shows that only 1% of diners would intentionally not show up for a reservation they made and not give a damn. And possibly even some of those were just flame-baiting trolls like SW.

              1. Yes.

                I have called internationally to cancel, when the travel plans change.

                I have only missed two reservations in my life, and one was done (by me) on the wrong day (showed up the next), and one when I thought the restaurant was in another city, when the trip to their city was canceled. My bad!

                If I book a party of four and that changes up, or down, I call to change. I respect the reservations and honor them.

                Now, if the restaurant takes my reservation for 9:00PM, and we are not seated until 10:00PM, I have an issue and will never dine there again. I know that tables might not turn on the hour, but there are limits to my understanding and flexibility.


                4 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  I always call as as well if plans change or we need to cancel. It is apparent that a lot of people do not have the common courtesy to make that phone call as the restaurant usually thanks me profusely for calling.

                  1. re: baseballfan

                    I find that a sad comment. I am a small business owner, though not in the hospitality area, and so greatly appreciate a call to cancel.

                    Unless I have committed a horrible faux pas (as mentioned above), i would have it no other way, even if the international calls cost me as much as the price of the dinner. When things change, I always am quick to offer to pay a charge for that change.

                    As I did intend to dine at restaurant X, if I cannot, it is for good reason, and it is not their fault.


                    1. re: baseballfan

                      I've had the same experience when calling to let a restie know we can't make it. I consistently get some expression of surprise that I called at all. The public is apparently incredibly discourteous, which I have to say has been my experience in property management.

                      1. re: amyzan

                        It's really a shame. Those people ruin it for the rest of us. It's amazing how far a small courtesy can go in making life easier for eberyone.

                  2. In my view all service providers are due a fundamental level of respect. A restaurant reservation is no different than any other type of appointment with any other type of service provider. Whether I make an appointment for a haircut, a root canal, a revision to a trust document, or a meal, I strive to not only honor it, but to arrive promptly at the agreed upon time. If I am unable to make such an appointment, I notify the service provider within a reasonable time of my realization that I will not be attending. I take the same approach to appointments that others make to avail themselves of my services. Simply stated, if you don't do so, you are an asshole.

                    16 Replies
                      1. re: MGZ

                        I *wish* everyone was like you.
                        I am a hair stylist and, while my clients are actually usually pretty good, some of my coworkers have clients who are habitual no-shows or are always late (not 15 minutes...I'm talking an hour+ late, rushing in with an "oh im so sorry, I just got caught up...")
                        Aside from noshows, there are LOTS of people who constantly call to reschedule...10 minutes before their appointment. Some clients reschedule 3 or 4 times or every appt they make, always at the last minute.

                        Point being- not everyone is as courteous as you. The types that don't show for a hair appt are probably the same that call in a takeout order and never pick it up. They're also the people who, I can only predict, have NEVER worked a service industry job.

                        1. re: CarmenR

                          some of my coworkers have clients who are habitual no-shows or are always late (not 15 minutes...I'm talking an hour+ late, rushing in with an "oh im so sorry, I just got caught up...")
                          In that situation, your salon is more than in their right to say "I'm sorry - we're completely booked up and can't fit you in - would you like to reschedule?"

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Back in my "early" days, I worked as a hairdresser as well like CarmenR. We lived and breathed by the clock. Time was money. I know sometimes I would try to fit the "late" person in, but other times, it was just not possible. And I am one of those "never late" type of people and don't have much tolerance for those who are late. I will always call a provider - restaurant or otherwise - if I would not be able to make the reserved time.

                            1. re: boyzoma

                              my experience as a nurse in a doctor's office - many patients call to cancel after they are already late or don't call at all, or show up without an appointment or just can't make it on time and still expect to be seen.

                              Yes people have a right to 'just not feel like going out for dinner' but surely they could decide a few minutes before their reservation not after it to make that call. They are not the only folks in the world but some act as if they are.

                            2. re: LindaWhit


                              I agree with you. However, so many folk are like me - "no" is not part of the vocabulary. I did not learn that word, until much later in my career. Now, I rely on it so very often, and I am in a totally different business. Too many feel that they are "noblesse oblige," and that the universe revolves around them. Again, "class" cannot be taught. It must be inherited. Most just never get it.


                            3. re: CarmenR

                              Courtesy needs to be contagious.

                              My poor, long-suffering wife has a standing nail and hair appointment, and a schedule that is hard to imagine. The ladies, prior to her, for both, are always very late, and have special demands. Wife has called from Tokyo, when she would be late, back in Phoenix, just to let everyone know. Sometimes, I think that "class" cannot be taught, and some just never "get it." I feel for you, but do understand completely. I only wish that all of mankind would be tied to such things as reservations, and have to deal with them, for just one week. Minds would change, and in a hurry.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                "I think that "class" cannot be taught"

                                Nor, like taste, can it be bought.

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  What would Professor Henry Higgins say about that?

                                  Manners can be taught and learned.

                                  That's why we teach our children things such as: please, thank you and having respect for others.

                                  It's time to let others know we do not accept or tolerate boorish behavior.

                                  My 13 y.o. complained about receiving detention because she was late to class. I explained that the teacher's position deserved the respect to be on time. I also explained that if the teacher did not have the respect for students to be on time, students should feel free to leave.
                                  Back when I was an undergrad (almost 40 years ago) we had to wait 5 minutes for an instructorm 10 for an assistant prof, 15 for an associate prof and 20 for a full prof. After that we were free to leave.

                                  I always call to cancel appointments or reservations if I find I cannot keep them, I also call if I find I'll be late, and ASK if the establishment can still accommodate me or prefers I rebook for another date.

                                  Common courtesy isn't common, but it should be.
                                  Rant over.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    i don;t know why an asst prof deserves less respect than a full prof

                                    1. re: thew

                                      This was the accepted etiquette when I was in college in the late eighties, as well. Yes, it was an outdated hierarchy, but it was.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        #1 school rules
                                        #2 less pay, less respect, the American way <VBG>

                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                        it always works two ways, I once had to wait over 2 hours for a dental appointment (second patient of the morning and the first appointment was also still in the waiting room), which cut into another meeting I had which I would have been late for. So I told them I was unable to stay and they billed me for a no show. I sent an invoice for my time at double their cost and they promptly 'waived their fee'.

                                        But if restaurants are unable to accommodate your 8pm reservation for half an hour would you like them to call and say so? Or would you switch to somewhere

                                        1. re: smartie

                                          So I told them I was unable to stay and they billed me for a no show. I sent an invoice for my time at double their cost and they promptly 'waived their fee'.
                                          I love it. :-)

                                        2. re: bagelman01

                                          I agree, bagelman, manners certainly can be taught. Manners are rules, capable of memorization and replication in conduct.

                                          Class and taste, however, are not readily distilled into rules. Those concepts, like, for example "cool," are intangible and their realization more akin to reason or Quality. In fact, those notions are not even easily defined (makes me think of ol' Justice Potter's "but I know it when I see it" cop out). Whether it's "showing class," "having taste," or "being cool," some people just never will - not for any price and not with years of training.

                                  2. re: MGZ

                                    The way that it should be! Glad that you are part of our "whole sick crew," who expect other to honor our appointments and reservations, and reciprocate in turn.

                                    We need more active members!


                                  3. Was discussing this thread with a restaurant -owning friend. He told me people routinely blow off reservations, and just as often they will "cancel" them at the time they are due or shortly thereafter. For example: a reservation for 4 on at 7:30 on a Saturday night calls at 7:40 to "cancel". The person answering the phone, caught off guard says "you mean, you're cancelling your reservation for *now*? and the person says, in a snotty tone: "you should be grateful I'm calling you at all!" Oh, really? Yes, how ungracious of me. You certainly are the definition of manners.

                                    Meanwhile, the restaurant (which does a business based mainly on reservations vs. walk-ins) has turned away other parties in order to hold this spot for the "reservation". Do people understand that this kind of behavior cost *actual* money? Yes, it does. Think about it. And that's also the reason so many restos require a credit card to hold reservations.

                                    1. Besides no-shows, flippant over-booking can be frustrating as well.
                                      When making reservations for larger groups, many people will pad the numbers "just-in-case". This isn't so bad when the reservation is for 20 people when the customer's guest list shows 18 or 19.
                                      But many times, knuckleheads have a list of maybe 12, with an additioal 10 "maybes" then make a reservation for 20, "just-in-case". Surprise surprise when 9 people show up...
                                      This repeated scenario had us implement a no-show charge. It wasn't much, but when reminded of it, the customer most always revised his numbers.

                                      1. Yes, if I reserved, I show up. Conversely, if I can't make it, I will contact the restaurant to cancel.

                                        What's annoying is when a restaurant can't manage their bookings/turnovers and you still end up waiting for a table after making a reservation. 5-10minutes is not a problem, 20minute or longer and I 'm wondering why I bothered to reserve when I'm being treated like a walk-in.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: SeoulQueen

                                          Yes, this happened just today. Woke up with what appears to be a flu, and canceled a trip to San Francisco, along with my dinner reservation for tonight. Luckily, they were open early enough, that I did not feel like a heel.