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13 French Laundry 4 top reservations open for within 3 days time. [Yountville, Napa Valley]

unclefishbits Feb 9, 2014 02:20 PM

Bots suck.

There were 13 last night, 11 right now....

4 top French Laundry rez available for within a few days time. Great if you want to last minute book, awful if you are a restaurant trying to plan on revenues. Awful if you are trying to book a real time, and not last minute.

Can anyone do anything about this? Go back to phone only?


  1. Shrinkrap Feb 10, 2014 06:29 PM

    Oh, NOW I get it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shrinkrap
      unclefishbits Feb 10, 2014 08:17 PM

      Me too, good sir. Me too. LOL

    2. Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 09:26 AM

      TFL's reservation system is almost entirely phone-based. They put only a handful on Opentable, plus cancellations.

      Presumably they had a rash of cancellations due to the thousands of flight cancellations due to severe weather elsewhere in the country.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        willyum Feb 10, 2014 02:43 PM

        But they are also listing openings for four tops via OpenTable on March 18, 24 and 26, as examples of how it's becoming easier to book there.

        1. re: willyum
          unclefishbits Feb 10, 2014 06:10 PM

          Thanks for this. It's possible the winter goes soft, and with weather conditions, they have a lot more available. Honestly I probably only tried to book during high season.

          Love all the thoughtful responses. I am just tired of the complexity of booking any sort of restaurant.

          Frankly, I am sort of down to wait in line at 4.15p for a fun State Bird meal, rather than attempt to book through the hoops on fire. lol

          Tech has made it this way for everything tho... I know this case is re: weather, possibly.... but even camping spots have bots buying up spots 6-7 months out when those things are released. Things have to change. Booking a table at a restaurant, frankly, should be commensurate with the entire flow of the experience. But that's just me. =)

          1. re: unclefishbits
            Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 06:42 PM

            The main reason it's hard to get a reservation at TFL is that demand exceeds supply. They take reservations 60 days in advance. When they start answering the phones at 10:00 am, the lines are jammed by people speed-dialing until the latest batch of 60-day-out reservations are gone. The handful of tables they put on Opentable have similar competition.

            1. re: unclefishbits
              tjinsf Feb 10, 2014 10:46 PM

              Honestly I love having online options. Restaurants that in the past would have empty tables will repost the cancellations on the websites. Sure in the past they have waiting lists but then the booker has to call down that list and you have to think to put yourself on a list. I've gotten so many great reservations 48 hours before online. Also if you see that a 4 top is available always call the restaurant and see if they can break it. We wanted to go to Trois Mec in LA last month and they only had 4 and 6 tops left on the day we would be in there. So I just sent them an email, they got back to be right away and changed the system to having two 2-tops so we could get one.

              I ethically wouldn't use a script to get a reservation but it's really no different than when a publicist calls a restaurant and gets last minute reservations for their clients. It annoys me when depending on whom I'm with I can get a table.

        2. w
          willyum Feb 10, 2014 07:16 AM

          We were there over the weekend ... I think Napa got almost 5" of rain one day and our original SFO flight out Sunday was cancelled, then our replacement flight was delayed twice. So a lot of people probably missed out due to weather.

          I did notice earlier (2 months ago) when we were booking that you can often find 4 tops on the FL on OpenTable, something that was extremely hard to do in the past. Maybe the buzz is off FL a bit by now, or maybe it's just because it's winter.

          1. t
            tjinsf Feb 9, 2014 09:24 PM

            Not understanding the comment about bots?

            I think weather had more to do with it.

            Writing a script for open table can be done but more of the hacks that are done are for restaurants with private computer systems than open table.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tjinsf
              unclefishbits Feb 10, 2014 06:06 PM

              It's possible, but I can't imagine that many dump just prior to the cxl policy. It would seem more even keeled and thoughtful than my knee jerk reaction, though. I just think it's obvious that some other methodology on booking needs to be researched. Wise, sanguine thoughts tho... thank you.

            2. l
              lmnopm Feb 9, 2014 06:46 PM

              A lot of this probably had to to with so many flight cancellations and flooded roads in the north bay.

              1. Shrinkrap Feb 9, 2014 05:23 PM

                Not sure I understand. I would take a last minute FL res, but for one. When I plugged that in, it disappeared.Same when I tried 2.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Shrinkrap
                  Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2014 09:13 AM

                  If they have an open four-top, they might take a reservation for two if you phone. Opentable's not usually configured to recognize that possibility.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    lmnopm Feb 10, 2014 06:45 PM

                    And when there's a 4 top open, the system won't accept a res for 3.

                    1. re: lmnopm
                      Melanie Wong Feb 11, 2014 02:06 PM

                      Maybe it will on same day res. Currently it will take a res for 2, 3 or 4-top at 5:30p today. The 2- and 3- were not available yesterday when I checked, only the 4-top. Or maybe there were more cancellations overnight.

                      I was surprised at how much availability continues to show through next month.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        unclefishbits Feb 11, 2014 02:27 PM

                        Well... that's it. I am sort of joking, but it is freaking obvious how we get a 2 top nowadays. That's brilliant. Wish I could go. Instead, I will pretend I would have spent the $1500, put it in savings, and go back to the south of france when I save enough. lol

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          Shrinkrap Feb 11, 2014 08:56 PM

                          Not sure if that's what I want. There are days when I could get there at 5:30 at the last minute, but it's not likely I and hubs could do that on the same weekday. Not worth it for one, even if I they offer such a thing.

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