Late Reservations: The Epidemic!

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September 24, 2012 by Diniquette

I have to say that not honoring your confirmed reservation time is one of the biggest dining etiquette offenders.

As I’ve already stated, in previous blogs, being late for your reservation: rushes your experience, screws the people who have a reservation after you, potentially weeds the kitchen,(because now instead of the orders being spaced out, they’re all going in at the same time)…..and then it just snowballs after that.

So instead of listing all the reasons this is bad, (too late), I thought I’d tell you a little story about one of my experiences:

3 men had a 6pm reservation. 2 of the 3 were on time and decided to have a cocktail at the bar while they waited for the 3rd.  At 6:15pm the 3rd showed up(talking on his iphone…..which is dining etiquette offender #1…but we’ll get to that later).  He chose to go outside to continue his phone conversation, (he actually gets a gold star for that).  At 6:25pm my manager approached the first 2 gentleman and communicated that there is another reservation, for that table, at 8:30 and we really need for you to be seated and order.  They agreed and were shown to the table.  At 6:40pm I approached the gentleman, (at the request of my manager), and presented menus and told the gentleman that unfortunately I needed to get the order.  Then, gentleman #2 says, (and I quote),”ya know, our 3rd guest is outside, why don’t you bring him a menu and get his order”.

Now, being the Italian Jersey Girl that I am, my internal monologue went something likes this: “YOU WANT ME TO WHAT?????  You want me to leave the floor, leave my other guests,(who were on time, by the way), and find your LATE friend somewhere on the sidewalks of Manhattan, disturb his phone call, make him look at the menu and wait outside until he feels like ordering”?  Have you lost your +^#* mind!!!! …….etc, etc.

However, since I am a professional, (though I would have been ok being fired over this one), I respectfully told the gentleman that I cannot leave the floor but suggested that he take the menu to his guest.

#3 finally joins the group and the order goes in at 6:50pm.  6:50!  They had a 6pm reservation.

Were they gone by 8:30pm? NOPE!  Did the reservation after them have to wait?  YEP!  Were they annoyed that they had to wait? YEP! and rightfully so.

So, let’s review what went wrong:
A) The party was not complete until 50 minutes after the reservation time

B)One of the guests treated the Server as a Servant… once again quote the fabulous Dave Barry: “a person who is nice to you, but not nice to the server: is not a nice person”.

C) The reservation after these men had to suffer because they couldn’t be on time.

D). This was a business dinner. Gentleman #1 was so horrified at how #2 spoke to me, that he pulled me aside and apologized.   Do you really think that #1 isn’t going to remember that when it comes time for promotion? Karma’s a bitch.

Restaurant rules to live by:

BE ON TIME, (and put down that damn iphone)

It’s that easy.

Thanks for reading.


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