Chow Bella

Why Don't Some Restaurants Take Reservations?

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail [email protected] Miss a question? Go here.

When it comes to dining out, some of us need a restaurant that takes reservations (at $15 an hour, that babysitter ain't cheap) while others don't (another drink at the bar -- don't mind if I do.) So why wouldn't all restaurants simply play it safe and afford customers the ability to lock down seats? Here's what Valley chefs and restaurateurs had to say.

See also: What's the Best Way to Send Food Back at a Restaurant? Should Restaurants Host Political Functions?

Lisa Khnanisho,Owner, Tryst Café

It's easier not to. Sometimes you have a reservation who doesn't call to cancel or inform you of a delay. You have a 15- to 20-minute wait, but you're holding a table for a reservation. What's an appropriate waiting time? What happens after 17 minutes when you sat the table previously assigned to a reservation and they walk in?

There's also the scenario of being told the party is for eight. The restaurant plans on using two tables together to accommodate the reservation. In actuality, it turns out to be six. The restaurant could have put two different tables together and in the meantime seated another party. For this reason, many restaurants don't seat incomplete parties. Guest counts change and the host is always mindful of the waiting guests and how to best structure seating and accommodate everyone. Empty seats don't pay the bills.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld