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Oct 7, 2013 10:47 AM

French Laundry question

I have a reservation at French Laundry for 4 this week; however, our other 2 now cannot make it. What happens when we arrrive with just 2?

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  1. I would expect them to charge you for the two no-shows, and quite right too. Call them and let them know ASAP so they have a chance to sell the spare space to someone else.

    1. Call and let them know. They will want to re-situate the room and chance your four-top to a two-top.

      Just showing up without letting them know is kinda rude... They may have someone waiting for a four-top that could be accommodated. You won't lose your reservation if you just change the size of your party.

      3 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Already did that. They are unable or unwilling to change our 4 to a 2.

        1. re: runlaw

          You have to figure out whether you will lose more money cancelling altogether or taking a hit for the no-shows. Did they not tell you what your options were when you called them?

          IMO, showing up minus two people without FL agreeing to it would be rude, inconsiderate, and unlikely to lead to a positive experience.

        2. re: CarrieWas218

          >> You won't lose your reservation if you just change the size of your party.

          are you sure?

        3. If the Laundry is going to charge you for four, you have another option to invite folks from this site. It has happened before and there are Hounds that have been able to step up to the plate and complete a party reservation.

          It might not be ideal, but it could be interesting and you would bound to have a fascinating conversation!

          1 Reply
          1. re: CarrieWas218

            Yes, my mother and I joined two other women (LA Hounds) for lunch a few years back. As you say, not ideal but I was glad to have done it.

          2. Everyone is right. Obviously the way to go is this, assuming you still want to go: try to find another couple. If you can't find another couple, then the original other couple will be on the hook for the cost of their dinner. And if they resist, then, basically, they are terrible people. It doesn't matter at all what the reason is...they made a commitment. Yes, sh!t happens, but part of that sh!t includes having to pay $600 for a dinner you can't make.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alex1018

              I agree with alex1018 - hopefully when you discussing going with this couple, they generally understood the kind of restaurant it is / how difficult it is to get a reservation.

              If it were me, I would call the other couple, tell them I did the best I could to have them change to a party of 2, but unfortunately, will be charged the full amount.

              Depending on why they had to cancel, they may try and make it given the cost of not going is now ~$540. If I were that other couple, and I absolutely couldn't make it anymore, I would absolutely expect to pay if we can't change the reservation. You've done all you can do at this point, so they can't fault you for it.

              1. re: alex1018

                Or show up and demand 4 meals/place setting for 2 people. Seems fair if you have pay for it one way or another. I'd consider making that request when discussing the situation with FL. They might blow you off but they would get the point and you paid for the services already. If they refuse, you might have something on them.

              2. Thanks everyone for the responses. Turns out when French Laundry called to confirm this afternoon, they were able to move us to a table for 2 at 5:30 pm. Apparently, they had a cancellation. Didn't think it was possible!

                2 Replies
                1. re: runlaw

                  Good that it worked out for you. It's strictly supply and demand, in such situation. It means that FL had a call after talking to you the first time, requesting a 4-top, which gave them the go-ahead to let you off the hook.

                  Do report back and let us know what you liked/disliked! Have a great time!

                  1. re: jaiko

                    yes, please do report back. the menu now looks a lot more streamlined than the one i had a couple years ago. (a good thing in my book.)