Dining time limits
Some friends made a dinner reservation for this Saturday to celebrate my birthday. They reserved for 6 p.m. and the resto told them we had to be out by 8:30. Two and a half hours seems like a reasonable amount of time, assuming the resto doesn't lag with the service. Still, I find this "you must be out by" business a bit off putting. I don't dine out at fine restos that often so is this the norm?
Yes, especially for a 6pm seating which is early (IMO) for "fine dining" where most restaurants will have 2 seatings (early and late).
Only for restaurants that do seatings (DNA is one of the few I can think of); it apparently allows for more efficiency at turning tables, but I've never really enjoyed this. Most of the island doesn't do this.
If I had the option and had to go to a place with seating times, I would generally pick the late seating so that there would be no rush.
It's very very gradually creeping in because more and more diners are deciding to camp out during prime times.... I have no problems with it. The time frame is very generous.
I tend to find that the diners who don't want a deadline on how long they can stay at a table are the same diners who find it inexcusable when their table isn't ready for the time of their reservation. The part that really drives me nuts is they do not see where there might be a possible conflict in such a stance.
I also don't like time limits and do find them off-putting. My main problem with it is not so much the time allowed but the times available either feel too early or too late.
That said, most places at which I eat do not have time limits. On the odd occasion that a place says they do, it really only applies to the early booking so we'd always take the later seats so there's no pressure to feel rushed.