Monday, October 24, 2016

Rant: Reservations & Simple Courtesy

Imagine this: A customer makes a business appointment with you, of which you will be paid. Because of that appointment, you turn down other customers who wanted to see you at that same time. The appointment time arrives and your customer doesn't show up, and doesn't even call to tell you they won't be there. You don't get paid, losing potential income. If you had known earlier that the customer would be a no show, you could have tried to get someone else to fill that appointment. You'd probably be upset and justifiably so. 

Unfortunately, that happens frequently in the restaurant industry. Numerous customers make reservations but then never show up for those reservations, and may not even call to say they won't be there. It might seem to some people to be an innocuous harm, thus providing justification for their cavalier attitude, but that isn't the case. It can have a significant financial effect on that restaurant, on everyone from the owner to the servers. And this discourteous act needs to stop.

Over the weekend, Chef Anthony Caturano, of Prezza and Tonno, noted on his Facebook page that on Saturday night a party of 15 people failed to show up for their reservation and also failed to call to inform the restaurant that they weren't going to be there. The comments were generally in agreement, that this behavior was plain wrong, a terrible breach of etiquette. The comments also segued into a discussion on how restaurants can try to combat this type of behavior, with some debate on how it should be handled. 

Restaurants often operate on thin margins and no-show reservations hurt their bottom line, especially if someone doesn't call to say they won't be showing up. Other potential customers may get turned away because of that reservation. A no-show is not a victimless activity and it needs to stop. Where is basic courtesy and etiquette? You wouldn't like it to occur to you, so why do it to others?

Some people make multiple reservations for the same day and time, and then, frequently at the last minute, choose which restaurant to visit, failing to call the other restaurants that they won't be there. Stop doing that! Yes, there are legitimate reasons why you might need to no-show at a reservation, from medical to family issues, but a simple phone call to the restaurant is still warranted. Have the courtesy to notify the reservation of your cancelation. Give them a chance to get someone else to take your reservation time. 

Stop being so self-absorbed and thinking only of your own needs and wants. Give consideration to how your actions effect other people. Failing to show up for a reservation and not even calling to cancel is a selfish act. Start thinking about how such actions could negatively impact the restaurant and its employees. We need more people to be courteous, to consider others. And we need people to be more courteous not just in this situation, but in all aspects of life. 

1 comment:

Sue said...

I think you really nailed it - anyone who would make a reservation for a large party and then not tell the restaurant they wanted to cancel is self-absorbed and insensitive. If it were their business, they'd be pretty upset if something like that happened. Restaurants do have narrow margins and this kind of behavior is totally insensitive. It needs to stop.