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Feb 26, 2013 10:31 AM

No call-in orders after x time?

There are a few local delis in my area which do not accept call-in orders after a certain time. It's usually 1 or 2 hours before closing time. Does anyone know a good reason why they would have this rule? I assume it's so that there are no leftovers orders which aren't picked up but for a place that prides itself on a la minute service wouldn't this be true at any time of the day?

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  1. Their house; their rules.

    1. Because people who say they are coming over in "5 minutes" to pick up sometimes forget and then the deli is stuck waiting for that person to come. However, while I can see a 1 hour rule (for the reason I just mentioned), 2 hours seems a bit extreme.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Philly Ray

        They're in the best position to know their business/customers and they're in the business of making money, so if they are doing it, odds are there's a good reason for it.

        1. re: ferret

          Yes, I assume there is was just interested to see if anyone had any ideas. They are kind of snarky in that endearing way but not sure I have the courage to ask them.

      2. Probably for the same reason laundromats have a "last wash" time. If a place is scheduled to close at, say, 10pm, then taking the last order no later than 9pm assures that the workers can close up on time.
        It's also possible that they have experienced what Philly Ray posted, that people forget or run late to pick up last minute orders, and this is a way of minimizing that.
        It wouldn't bother me very much as long as I knew that this was the case.

        1. As others have stated, they simply want to be able to close on time.

          There are utensils, slicers, & other implements to clean & put away. Prepared food items to store. Counters & the shop in general to clean & tidy up. This takes time. And having to take time out from that to answer the phone, take down an order, prepare it, & package it, takes time away from what has to be done before everyone can leave for home.

          Maybe you wouldn't mind working overtime due to someone who couldn't call in their order until the last minute, but I certainly understand a business that gives a hoot about their employees being able to leave on time.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Bacardi1

            I understand your point but isn't this still true if you show up at 455pm to place an order?

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Not sure what the point of your question is fldhkybnva? If the place closes at 5pm and you place your order at 455 pm, isn't it obvious what Bacardi says takes place is happening an hour or so before closing time? Not sure how it matters if it's 4:55, 5:55 or 11:55, if it's 5 minutes before closing time, it's 5 minutes before closing time.

              Now if you mean you place your order at 4:55 pm and they close at 10pm, then no, they're not doing all the work Bacardi says at the time you place your 4:55 pm order.

              1. re: Rick

                I mean if you walk into the place at 455pm and place an order does that not interrupt the stuff that they are trying to finish to exit the building when the place closes at 5pm?

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Yes it does and it is a PITA (been there). But, at least with walk-ins you have some sense of what your crowd is and can time your closing accordingly. Also, very late walk-ins who see everything is put away might be less demanding with their order. Maybe get a bagel and CC but no sliced veg. Or grab something that is already prepared. Etc. People on the phone ordering from a menu won't have any such restraint.

                  Basically, I think they are trying to wind down for the day and will control what they can.

            2. re: Bacardi1

              I think Bicardi sums it up best. You'll get those that think restaurants should bend to every customers wishes, but that doesn't always work so well from a business stand point. Say closing time is 10 pm, you call in a small order at 9:50, promise to be there before 10pm. On your way over you get a flat tire, or the baby pukes and needs a new outfit etc etc, now the restaurant either waits until you make it in or has to throw away the food. Your $10 order may very well end up costing the restaurant more than $10 if you run late. Not to mention no one likes staying late at work. I can guarntee you the vast majority of employees would be happy to know they will be going home 10 pm EVERY night on the dot. Happy employees are just as important as happy customers.

            3. It may also be that the volume of orders placed in that time slot is low, so it doesn't pay to have an employee assigned to answer the phone -- especially if they send some employees home after the dinner rush and the others start on clean-up even before closing time.