Request For Inside Table

June 23, 2009

in Non-Stories

Hey Dev,

We just returned from a wonderful dinner out with our two sons and their girlfriends.

My husband made reservations earlier in the day. Our entire party arrived early and checked in. We waited in the bar for approximately 5 minutes, which was fine. It was a cool evening and the hostess took us outside where there were two round tables put together; it was not conducive to conversation. There were no tablecloths and the tables did not look clean. I asked if we could have a table inside and was told that there would be a wait. The restaurant was not full and there were empty tables for 6 visible. I reminded the hostess that we had made a reservation and asked to speak with the manager. She left for a very brief time and returned and sat us at a lovely table inside. I thanked her.

I am wondering what might have been a better way to handle this situation. My sons, and their girlfriends, seemed a little uncomfortable when I asked for a different table and to see the manager when told there would be another wait.

Any advice would be appreciated.

– Don’t Mess With Mama In California

Dear Don’t Mess With Mama,

Did the restaurant inform you when the reservations were made that they only had outside dining available at your requested time? Or did you request to eat outside when you made the reservations? If such was the case, then their reluctance probably was because other diners had made reservations to eat inside. If neither was the case, then you should have been informed when you made reservations that there were no tables available inside the restaurant.

You certainly had the right, regardless of the circumstances, to ask if a table was available inside. A restaurant that wants to do well will try its best to please its customers, which this one did. Diners need to keep in mind, however, that restaurants also have to meet other customer’s needs, and that those with reservations have priority.

I’m not sure, Don’t Mess With Mama, why your sons and their girlfriends were uncomfortable with your request, unless it was done in an angry or brusque manner. Negotiating to have one’s needs met is more pleasant for all, and is usually more effective, if done in a politely assertive manner.

The next time that you make reservations to dine at the restaurant, be sure to state that you’d like to sit inside. And when you arrive, say “hello” if you happen to see me there. I’ll be the one dressed up all spiffy with polished horns and martini in hand.

Dev the Dining Devil

[Note: Dev the Dining Devil mysteriously disappeared into parts unknown and therefore we’re no longer able to continue this feature.]

PadrePio July 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Hi there. I have been in the service industry in some capacity for ten years. I just decided to start reading some of the blogs out there and after reading a few posts wanted to respond to the answers to questions give.

With regard to asking to be sat at another table, this can be a pain in the ass or it can be easy, depending on how and what the request is. Asking for a manager over this at a decent rest. is waaaay over the top and is just being pretentious. Asking a server or host person to be sat somewhere else is fine, but if the reservation did not specify a location and it is a busy time for the rest. this could be very difficult, and the guests must understand. Waiting a wopping few minutes at a decent busy rest. and then asking for a manager is also waaaaay too pretentious. People can wait a few minutes for godd food and service.

As for the seating question. You nailed it then ran away. Many guests do not realize how the whole section thing works. You are being put into a box for the duration of your experience as a guest. It works most efficiently, especially at non peak hours, too stick those people in boxes very close to each other. This is the major reason. Secondary is the concern over potential bigger tables, and this also varies a bit rest. to rest.

Hit me back with an email.


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