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Jun 22, 2013 06:08 AM

The battle with hostesses over table space: have you had this experience?

I'm not an unreasonable guy. I understand restaurants wanting to save their four tops during busy periods to seat the maximum number of customers, but when the restaurant is not busy, I resent hostesses and servers putting us at a two top when there are plenty of four tops available. Many two tops barely have room for the plates, glasses, and silverware. When the food comes, major rearranging has to be done to fit all the serving dishes on the table.

I realize that this means that servers have to remove two place settings, but it is a small price to pay for making your customers more comfortable, isn't it?

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    1. re: wyogal

      Yes, I generally ask for a larger table. I'm kind of shy and I don 't like to cause problems, but this does irritate me enough so that I do ask. Almost universally, the hostesses or serving people are very nice about it, although it often throws them for a loop and they have to return to the reception area to consult with someone there or check the seat layout to what is not yet reserved.

      1. re: gfr1111

        So, you ask and are accommodated. What's the issue? Do you want them to automatically give you a 4 top? I don't understand.
        I've always been accommodated when I ask for a larger table.

        1. re: wyogal

          Wyogal, the thing is that it's a hassle. I am suggesting that the policy should be to always put you at a four top, unless the restaurant is busy.

          1. re: gfr1111

            I disagree. No hassle for me. Never has been. Maybe for you.
            When you open your restaurant, you can have that policy.

    2. Doesn't really seem like a battle with hostesses, or servers.
      They must be following the policies set by managers and/or owners, so isn't that whom you should be addressing the issue with?

      1. I also want to know if you make it a habit to ask for the 4-top?
        I also hate too-small tables for two. It says something about the cheapness of the restaurant if their goal is to smush as many patrons in at the expense of their comfort.

        7 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          Yes, I just answered Wyogal's identical question. I do ask for a four top (most of the time), but I hate all the hassle of being taken to the table, brought back to the hostess's reception area, sometimes asked to wait a few minutes, etc. The hostess or server are always nice about it. It is not a big deal, but it could easily be taken care of by a change in policy: seat patrons at a four top, unless it is busy.

          Then there are the restaurants where the hostess has a roomful of empty tables and asks me if I want to sit at a hightop in the bar . . .

          1. re: gfr1111

            I understand the bit of angst that comes with asking. I'm not a fan of high tops and would rather settle for the tiny 2 top!

            1. re: gfr1111

              Ok, so ask for a four top as soon as you go in. Problem solved.

              1. re: gfr1111

                Pardon, but this seems unreasonable. "unless it is busy" -- the waitress ought to be preparing for it to become busy, unless you're eating lunch at 2pm (at which point, the odds of a pile of people are next to zero).

                1. re: gfr1111

                  Then there are the restaurants where the hostess has a roomful of empty tables and asks me if I want to sit at a hightop in the bar . . .


                  if it's between peak lunch and dinner service, they may not have dining room servers on, or that server is just about to cash out. or they may just be trying to get the bar a little bit of extra biz in a dead period. or they may want to clean up and do noisy stuff like vacuum.

                  in some restaurants, many of the 4-tops actually pop up to make larger tables and they may be wanting to pre-set the room for reservations for large parties.

                2. re: monavano

                  gfr111 and monavano:

                  it appears to me that neither of you has any first hand, personal experience signing a ten year, triple net restaurant lease with a personal guarantee.

                  the two of you, please get back to us after you have personally had this experience.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    {{Tipping my hat to you}} Well said!!!!

                3. You are always going to get the smallest table unless you ask, less for them to clean and reset, what's the battle?

                  1. You _resent_ them seating a party of two at a table for two? And expressing your preference for a larger table, and having your preference immediately accommodated, is a "battle"? I'm afraid I can't relate to this at all. I mean, I can imagine having exactly the same objective experience, and then forgetting about it 30 seconds later. Nothing worth complaining to the Internet about.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: DeppityDawg

                      No, I resent them making me less comfortable so that they save the horrendous effort necessary to clear two place settings. And you act like most tables for two actually accommodate two. They don't.

                        1. re: gfr1111

                          You seem to enjoy exaggerating. No, it's not a horrendous effort for them to give you a larger table (that's why they happily do it, if they can), but it's not a horrendous effort for you to ask, either. "It is a small price to pay for making your[self] more comfortable, isn't it?"

                          1. re: gfr1111

                            If I have a seating preference of any kind I just tell the hostess, whether it's a larger table, a booth, a window seat, upstairs, whatever. It's never been a big deal. It's not something I ever thought about until this minute.