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Being made to wait for a table in an empty restaurant.

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Has anyone encountered this or any industry insiders have reasons?

So last Thursday I went to a sushi restaurant near my work for the first time and was blown away by the quality of food and the Sushi Chef I sat in front of at the Sushi bar ( walked right in and requested a seat at the sushi bar and was seated). I returned this Thursday and arrived right before they opened, there was a couple and a party of three waiting when I arrived. After a few min. a few other couples joined in line behind me. First couple requested the chef that served me last time and were seated at the Sushi bar. The three top also requested him and were told he only has two seats so there would be a wait or they could sit in front of the other chef...they decided to wait in the lounge. i simply requested 1 for the sushi bar (though I wanted the chef from my previous visit, I was on a time restraint due to my train home). i was told "we can seat you at a table or there will be a wait" OK at least 14 seats in front of the second chef at the Sushi Bar WTF am I waiting for? At first i thought maybe the prep wasn't finished but after seeing the first chef talking and serving his two customers and the second standing with his arms behind his back waiting for customers i deduced this was not the case.

I am actually really easy going but after years of dinning I have never experienced this (and through years of travel with work have dined alone in a great many restaurants with no problems) So basically you have an empty restaurant, two people seated, a party of three in the lounge and no room for me at the sushi bar that has 14 empty seats? The hostess was shocked "You don't want to wait? or sit at a table" I politely said no i want to be seated at the Sushi bar and cannot wait because I do not want to be rushed or miss my train."

I did email the restaurant .but will be shocked if I get a response.

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  1. The only thing I can think of is that they want to keep one chef "free" to handle orders from those seated at tables, and having a customer at the bar hampers that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mpjmph

      That's what I'm thinking too. Find a different restaurant.

    2. Another possibility is that the second area was awaiting a large reservation.

      1. That's very strange, especially since the group of three in front of you was offered a seat with the idle chef.

        1. I think I might have said something (politely) to hostess. Something along the lines on: "I came here the other day and was so impressed I thought I'd pop in before I caught my train. I notice that there seems to be plenty of seating, and the chef does not seem busy . Are you waiting for a larger party to arrive?" So much better to get an answer right from the horses mouth rather than getting aggravated (ask me how I know!).

          1. I run across similar situations every now and then when the resturant takes reservations say for lunch or brunch. You go there and have to wait while staring at a bunch of empty chairs. I don't understand the logic here and would be very happy if someone would explain it to me. For example, in Austin a local tea spot takes reservations for lunch. There maybe a half dozen people waiting for a table while staring at 3 or 4 vacant tables. Recently we went for brunch at VQ in Portland. We did not know that reservations could be made so we and others waited for 45 minutes for more while staring at 3 or 4 empty tables. These tables could have been turned at least once during the period some of us waited for a table. It never has added up to me why restauranteurs want to lose money that way.

            I don't mean to highjack this thread, just add to what seems illogical on some restaurants part.