Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Do Restaurants Reserve the Right to Rush You Through Your Dinner?

Reservations - What do they Actually Mean anyway?

I am one of those people who takes restaurant reservations seriously. I have a huge amount of respect for the restaurant business and try to be an exemplary customer. However, I do have expectations and one of them is to be treated fairly - and that means the same as everyone else. I dined at a restaurant recently where the only available spot on Opentable was at 10.15pm, later than ideal, but we confirmed nonetheless. Ten minutes after we were seated, and before any pleasantries or the offer of an apperitif, we were somewhat unceremoniously informed by our waiter "I'll have to rush your orders through straight away because the kitchen is closing in 5 minutes". Was this a reasonable action from the restaurant or not? Have your say in my poll...


review results here

(PS - I am planning an update on this story, most likely next week. I was hoping for a response from the restaurateur but nothing yet. I wrote to him a week and a half ago.)

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?Have you ever been rushed through a meal because the kitchen was closing? How did that make you feel? How did you deal?

2007 | My first Impression of what has since become a firm favourite
2006 | Low Sugar Dessert Collection
2005 | Citizen Cupcake

© 2008 Sam Breach
Do Restaurants Reserve the Right to Rush You Through Your Dinner?


  • At 30/1/08 20:38, Anonymous enidd said…

    did you pay less for the food?

    no. then you should get exactly the same service. the last booking should only be taken for a time at which there is still time for that. (if you get enidd's drift.)

  • At 30/1/08 21:16, Anonymous Jennifer Jeffrey said…

    I agree with enidd that the last reservation should be taken to allow diners the ability to order as usual. If you walk in to a restaurant 5 minutes to close, that's a totally different story.

    But to pressure a diner to order within 5 minutes on a prior reservation - not fair at all.

  • At 30/1/08 23:15, Blogger Catherine said…

    It must be momification, but I can't imagine eating that late. But, if the restaurant takes a reservation that late, they should honor it, without question.

  • At 31/1/08 01:22, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Enidd is spot on. I think that I would have left at that point but I guess if you were hungry that wasn't an option! So do we get to know the name of this restaurant!

  • At 31/1/08 01:23, Blogger Alice Q. said…

    Clearly they shouldn't take a reservation at that time if they can't honor it. I think that would have to be the latest I've ever eaten though - if I made a res that late! Pray tell, where was this?

  • At 31/1/08 04:03, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I completely agree with enidd, if they can't let you order and eat as you would at an earlier reservation they shouldn'tlet reservations be made so late.

  • At 31/1/08 05:56, Blogger Rachel said…

    If the restaurant can't handle a late reservation for whatever reason, they shouldn't take them. I would have just got up and left after he said that.

  • At 31/1/08 06:38, Blogger Sam said…

    thanks for all the responses everyone. I will report further on the story when i announce the results of the poll. I wrote to the owner of the restaurant to air my disappoinment but I haven't had the courtesy of a reply yet (it's been a week and a half). I wrote also to opentable who were extremely prompt and professional.

  • At 31/1/08 06:39, Blogger Sam said…

    in their response, i should have added.

  • At 31/1/08 20:05, Blogger Sam said…

    Thanks to everyone who voted!
    I summed up the courage to call the restaurant's owner and I am pleased to report the outcome of our conversation was to my satisafction. I will share more details (hopefully) next week in a conclusion-to-the-story post.

  • At 1/2/08 16:14, Blogger Darcy said…

    Because I work in a restaurant, I always try to be cognizant of when the place is closing. There is nothing worse that getting a table 5 minutes before close, especially if they like to linger. THAT BEING SAID! Reservations are such for a reason. A restaurant should never be taking reservations that late if they don't intend give the customer the full experience. I'm sure that you are respectful customer and don't stay at a restaurant an inordinate amount of time when the restaurant is closing. This place just needs to adjust their policy - I hope your discussion with the manager sets that in motion!

  • At 4/2/08 11:44, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have worked in the restaurant business pretty much my entire life. It is great to have customers that are aware that kitchen is closing and try to accomodate that but the bottom line is it is not the customers responsibility to accomodate the restaurant! In my opnion you should have never been approached by the server regarding the issue.

  • At 5/2/08 17:32, Blogger Steph said…

    Gotta tell ya, in this country almost every meal eaten out is rushed. No matter how the starting time relates to the closing time of the kitchen.
    And it sucks.

    By the by, I am American, not from abroad. I just don't like the way things work here!

  • At 6/2/08 14:06, Blogger Que Sera Sara said…

    Having worked for 8 years in the restaurant industry, this is a common dilema. The restaurant does need to close at some poin, and you can only imagine how all diners differ with regards to length of time they stay. It is best when a restaurant accepts a reservation within an hour of closing that they share this information. Had you known you had such little time to sit and order, dine and relax, perhaps that reservation would not have worked well. For others, 30 minutes to eat and go is perfect.

    It's also best that the waiter points this out upon your arrival, not to rush you, but to let you know so you can make best use of your time and money. You do deserve the same service, however timing would be expected to be faster to accomodate your meal service.


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