The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Restaurateur Calls on a Missed Reservation

A friend of mine sent me an email about an incident with a restaurateur. I don't have all the facts, but here is the scenario and my response. I would like to hear from you as well.

"I have a question about restaurant etiquette. What is your opinion about a restaurateur calling a customer and leaving a message which rudely reamed them out for missing a reservation. Though not an emergency, it was also not intentional to ignore the reservation. How offensive should an owner/manager be permitted before a line is crossed? What do you think?"

I have mixed emotions about the missed reservation. If you were a no show without a phone call, shame on you! If you called to cancel your reservation, even last minute, you showed the restaurant a courtesy with an opportunity to fill the spot (though it still could be lost revenue if they turned others away and didn't fill the open spot). Also, was your reservation for a large party 6 or more? - harder to fill-more revenue lost. No shows and reservation cancellations are part of the mix for any restaurateur and there should be a plan B in place (i.e. Brasserie Tatin called me yesterday to confirm that evening's reservation)

I don't know all the details surrounding the missed reservation to say who is right and who is wrong. I know if you had a scheduled meeting with someone and they didn't show, didn't call (why not, with the proliferation of cell phones) - would you be upset? Now, whether the restaurateur should have called - my feelings, his energies would be better spent calling future reservations so this didn't happen to them again. I understand the restaurateurs frustration, times are tough out there for them and some are feeling the pressure more than others - it is an emotional time.

The question remains - should the restaurateur have called their home about the missed reservation? I throw this out to my readers to respond.

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