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May 20, 2014 05:38 PM

On reserving multiple tables

It occurs to me that a problem that is particularly serious in Paris is that of diners' reserving a panoply of tables so that they can decide at the last moment which one strikes their fancy and mood. As a forum, where we counsel on methods of securing reservations, menu translations, even proper dress attire, we have been derelict in not warning visitors against this quite unacceptable practice.

When just one person double books, he is keeping another from securing a table. Worse, he is stealing from the restaurant by keeping them from selling a table until the last minute if at all. Of course, this assumes that he has the presence to call and cancel the reservation he does not keep.

Visitors need to do homework, like the scores who visit Chowhound every day, and decide their preferences before they book. Then, book the one table that sings to their hearts. Booking two tables will not increase one's odds of having a memorable meal. It only decreases other diners' chances of doing the same.

Come to Chowhound and pound us with questions. We are all here to answer questions in infinite detail. Just ask. Then choose your table and enjoy!

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  1. You're absolutely right, Mangeur. The issue has to be addressed. And too many Paris restaurateurs are complaining about last-minute cancellations resulting in empty tables.

    A few weeks ago, the head of State of some prestigious country (that will remain unnamed) did just that: reserve the entire dining-room of Sola, while booking an entire other restaurant, choosing to go to the other restaurant at the last minute, and not notifying Sola. Same problem, larger scale.

    1. It's not unique to Paris or France, of course. A few years ago on one of the regional US boards, a poster who was visiting that area reported that she was holding tables at 2 very popular ( and small) restaurants for the same slot and wanted advice which was the better. I replied that her doing so was inconsiderate -- may even have said "rude." My post got reported and deleted for being personal, attacking a fellow hound.

      1 Reply
      1. re: masha

        Indeed. I am attacking no one. In fact, I hope that this post might prevent a few well-intended visitors from unintentionally committing a faux pax, I think that the unintened consequences just don't occur to those who haven't taken time to choose rationally before they book.

      2. This uis a very important point and as Pti says it crushes some restaurants, especially smaller ones that count on every cover. It's arrogant, rude and has real economic consequences.

        1. l am naive enough to be amazed it is done with any regularity. l have never double booked and see no need.
          Perhaps this is why some restos in Manhattan and Los Angeles take credit cards with reservations and give you a limit on a time period when it can be cancelled with no charge.
          Or even do the David Chang, Sholo Olunloyo or others in paying when res is made and it is up to you to find someone to take your place if you cannot come.
          If patrons keep messing with the system, more and more restauranteurs will require a pre-pay system.

          1. I think this subject needs to be broached frequently. Someone posted one day ago that they had booked two places at the same time.

            Maybe some are just selfish, uncaring, rude, but I think many are just not thinking of how unfair this practice is to the restaurant.