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DonRocks

Restaurant Reservations Should Require A Credit Card And A Contract

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I've heard one too many stories of last-minute cancellations for no good reason. Restaurants should require a credit card and a contract to hold reservations for diners. This is no different than buying an opera ticket. If you can't make it to the opera, either sell your ticket to someone else, or eat the cost of it.

If hotels require a credit card to hold a reservation, then why shouldn't restaurants?

I will be at the vanguard of any movement that requires diners to give credit card numbers and sign contracts in order to secure a reservation. I'm sick of people taking advantage of the "hospitality" industry just because they can.

Debate me if you'd like, but rest assured I feel very strongly about this, and am willing to go to the mat for it.

It's time for it to happen, and it's long overdue.

You know? If you break your leg at 4:45 PM for a 5 PM reservation, and a restaurant doesn't let it slide, then by all means, let's reserve a special place in Hell for them, and expose them publicly for being money-grubbing misanthropes, but the vast majority of cancellations are simply because people think they can get away with it without penalty or repercussion. It's time for this sorry chapter to come to a end.

Honor your reservation, or pay the price for not doing so. Diners have had it too easy for too long, and it's going to take someone like me (a diner) to speak up and force these entitled leeches to take financial responsibility for their actions.

Cheers,
Rocks

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This is no different than buying an opera ticket. If you can't make it to the opera, either sell your ticket to someone else, or eat the cost of it.

Funny, I just bought an opera ticket a few minutes ago, and was even thinking shit, what if something comes up and I can't make it, I'll be out all this money.

Anyway, I agree with the substance of what you say, but what brought on this tirade?

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Normally I wouldn't reply to a post merely to say I completely agree with it, but I'm overdue for a positive response to something Don wrote, so here it is! :)

If you cancel far enough in advance for the restaurant to re-book someone else or add a walk-up, no charge. If not, you're on the hook.

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I've heard one too many stories of last-minute cancellations for no good reason. Restaurants should require a credit card and a contract to hold reservations for diners. This is no different than buying an opera ticket. If you can't make it to the opera, either sell your ticket to someone else, or eat the cost of it.

If hotels require a credit card to hold a reservation, then why shouldn't restaurants?

I will be at the vanguard of any movement that requires diners to give credit card numbers and sign contracts in order to secure a reservation. I'm sick of people taking advantage of the "hospitality" industry just because they can.

Debate me if you'd like, but rest assured I feel very strongly about this, and am willing to go to the mat for it.

It's time for it to happen, and it's long overdue.

You know? If you break your leg at 4:45 PM for a 5 PM reservation, and a restaurant doesn't let it slide, then by all means, let's reserve a special place in Hell for them, and expose them publicly for being money-grubbing misanthropes, but the vast majority of cancellations are simply because people think they can get away with it without penalty or repercussion. It's time for this sorry chapter to come to a end.

Honor your reservation, or pay the price for not doing so. Diners have had it too easy for too long, and it's going to take someone like me (a diner) to speak up and force these entitled leeches to take financial responsibility for their actions.

Cheers,

Rocks

This sounds like a good way to have fewer people going out to eat. I assume you mean a certain caliber of restaurants would do this and not all restaurants that take reservations, but the unintended consequences could be pretty huge.

The idea of comparing eating at a restaurant with going to the opera alone makes it sound like eating out is something rarefied that only certain people are able to appreciate.

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This sounds like a good way to have fewer people going out to eat. I assume you mean a certain caliber of restaurants would do this and not all restaurants that take reservations, but the unintended consequences could be pretty huge.

The idea of comparing eating at a restaurant with going to the opera alone makes it sound like eating out is something rarefied that only certain people are able to appreciate.

Hotel then. Or mortgage payments. Or movie tickets bought in advance. Or any other promise to fulfill a contract that is broken. Why are restaurants so unique that they alone have to suffer through cancellations? Even physicians now require 24 hours to cancel.

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Hotel then. Or mortgage payments. Or any other promise to fulfill a contract that is broken. Why are restaurants so unique that they alone have to suffer through cancellations? Even physicians now require 24 hours to cancel.

I have reservations next week for a large party (8 people) at CraftBar in NYC. They asked for a credit card, I think because it was a large party. They said I could cancel the same day, even an hour or two before the reservation, at no charge. They said what they want to avoid is a complete no-show. I thought that was a reasonable policy. I think a 24 hour cancellation policy is pushing it, however. Unlike physicians or the opera, restuarants are more likely to fill empty slots with walk-ins and last minute reservations. I think CraftBar has adopted a fine compromise.

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Hotel then. Or mortgage payments. Or movie tickets bought in advance. Or any other promise to fulfill a contract that is broken. Why are restaurants so unique that they alone have to suffer through cancellations? Even physicians now require 24 hours to cancel.

Not to play the hyperbole police but really, mortgage payments? Come on Don.

I copmletely agree with Pat and dcs that at a certain caliber of restaurant, or a special event, this makes complete sense. That said, I'm also in support of a blacklist where folks who use opentable, etc to book multiple places in one night or cancel the day of.

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Not to play the hyperbole police but really, mortgage payments? Come on Don.

How does a bank need money any more than a restaurant?

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A 30 (or 15) year contract has a tad more weight behind it than a one time event.

(null)

Okay, so we'll make it a "one-time-only" missed mortgage payment. Both are (or should be) contractual obligations.

Your better argument here is that if you've lived in a place for a month, you absolutely owe the money. Not paying a mortgage payment would be akin to eating and leaving without paying the check. But what about if you sign a lease (for rent, not mortgage) and never move in? Should you be able to go around and sign five different leases, and then choose the one that best suits you, eschewing the others? Because that's exactly what some diners do, and the reason they do it is because they can. Let's have these diners put up a deposit for each reservation they make, and then we'll see how often they no-show.

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Hotel then. Or mortgage payments. Or movie tickets bought in advance. Or any other promise to fulfill a contract that is broken. Why are restaurants so unique that they alone have to suffer through cancellations? Even physicians now require 24 hours to cancel.

People need to eat but they have many different options for eating. If you need to see your doctor, you really need to see your doctor. If you're desperate to see this particular cast of Oklahoma!, you commit yourself to being there, even if you lose money if you can't go. The latter may also apply if, say, you desperately want to get to Rogue 24 this month.

While I completely understand restaurants requiring credit cards for major holidays--ones where people are known to make multiple reservations and flake out--doing it across the board will generate consumer backlash.

While I like Belga (the last restaurant where I ate a meal) just fine, if I had to give a credit card and agree to a contract to make a reservation there for a regular (non-special event) meal, I wouldn't do it.

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While I like Belga (the last restaurant where I ate a meal) just fine, if I had to give a credit card and agree to a contract to make a reservation there for a regular (non-special event) meal, I wouldn't do it.

Why not?

Sure hasn't hurt the airlines.

(Not trying to be an argumentative prick with my friends, but obviously I feel strongly about this issue. I respect every opinion that has been stated here.)

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Why not?

Sure hasn't hurt the airlines.

Well, if it turned out that my husband had to work late and we couldn't go--or he missed his flight from somewhere and wouldn't be home in time--we'd be out whatever money they'd charge for a deposit. I've actually cancelled anniversary and similar dinners because of that and have fortunately had no problem. Other times I've scrambled and tried to find someone else to go. I hate that kind of pressure.

I very rarely ever cancel reservations, and it's for things like that. Not everybody goes out to dinner every night or enjoys having to go out every night. There are plenty of times I've had reservations that I really didn't feel like going to but went anyway because I was committed to it. Having the penalty of paying money for not going would make me more likely not to reserve in the first place.

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"Fuck that shit," as esteemed philosopher George Clinton so elequently puts it.

Good restaurants are selling a moment of fantasy. If they want to start the relationship by treating you like some poor sod queuing for the Delta Flight 1844 to Raleigh-Durham -- or, calling them a liar -- that's their choice, but thet should probably stop pretending to be part of the "hospitality" industry and term it "industrial provisioning." Oh, and don't call me a guest. "Funder" will do.

Note also that no one on on this board would pay $600 for dinner for two -- as my wife recently did for my wonderful birthday dinner at Marcel's -- if they expected to be treated like they are by airlines or doctors, so can we dispense with those bullshit allusions right now?

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Note also that no one on on this board would pay $600 for dinner for two -- as my wife recently did for my wonderful birthday dinner at Marcel's -- if they expected to be treated like they are by airlines or doctors, so can we dispense with those bullshit allusions right now?

Sure, let's dispense with the bullshit allusions and leave restaurants as the only business in existence to be penalized for no-shows.

Buy a ticket to "Cats" if you want your moment of fantasy. And then don't show up and see what happens.

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Having the penalty of paying money for not going would make me more likely not to reserve in the first place.

Agreed, 100%. Dining out is not as important as airline tickets, or opera tickets.

Frankly, my kid's ear infection, or the server blowing up at work, is going to suck enough without getting dinged for $100 on my missed dinner res.

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Sure, let's dispense with the bullshit allusions and leave restaurants as the only business in existence to be penalized for no-shows.

Buy a ticket to "Cats" if you want your moment of fantasy. And then don't show up and see what happens.

If I can't make Cats, I sell my tickets on e-bay.

I don't drop big money on restaurants to be treated like some peasant. Every business has risks.

--- "Hi, I'd like to drop several hundred dollars in your establishment over the course of two hours next Wednesday."

-- "Cerainly sir, but we assume we assume that you're a deadbeat. Please sign the contract and fax your credit information to our comptroller."

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If I can't make Cats, I sell my tickets on e-bay.

I don't drop big money on restaurants to be treated like some peasant. Every business has risks.

--- "Hi, I'd like to drop several hundred dollars in your establishment over the course of two hours next Wednesday."

-- "Cerainly sir, but we assume we assume that you're a deadbeat. Please sign the contract and fax your credit information to our comptroller."

So you won't eat at Komi, Rogue 24, or the Minibar? Really? How does signing a contract make you a peasant? Peasants attend the opera? I didn't realize those people in tuxes are peasants. I didn't realize I'm a peasant.

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,I disagree with Waitman. I think the restaurant is well within its rights to request a credit card number and have a certain period of time for notification of a change in plan (or emergency - assuming the best of people not lying) of the prospective customer. Marcel's didn't btw and I liked that, but I would have provided if asked.

That said, I find contracts really off putting and would like to know if they are necessary in order to enforce a charge on the credit card of a no-show or if there is some other purpose that they serve other than making hoops to jump through and an additional hassle that makes one potentially walk into a meal with a bad taste in one's mouth from the outset?

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A credit card number to reserve, maybe. A contract? No. Life is simply too unpredictable, and dining is a pleasure that's easy to do without. Make it an obligation, like theater tickets, and pretty soon dining rooms with be as empty as the symphony halls.

A ticket is sort of a contract, but most people don't like to think of their pleasures that way.

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A ticket is sort of a contract, but most people don't like to think of their pleasures that way.

A ticket for a concert or the theater may have some resale value. A dinner reservation, not so much. Then again, maybe this is a business opportunity for a secondary market.

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I can certainly see a requirement for large parties to give credit card information against reasonable notice if they aren't going to make the reservation. And I can certainly understand restaurants asking for cc#s during prime time.

Before I moved to this area, I was up here interviewing and staying with a friend who worked for the company. It was a small and chummy group, so the boss-to-be came over for some drinks before we headed out for dinner, and got on the phone and made reservations (on a Friday night) at 4 different restaurants -- and it would have been more if she had been able to get reservations at a few others. I was surprised. I was aghast when it was time to get ourselves out the door that she didn't call and cancel any of the superfluous reservations she had made and dismissed my concern that it was bad form. I did end up moving to the area and working for her for a year, during which time I discovered that her disregard of anything but her own whims extended to all comers.

I guess the moral of my story is that I think that blatant over-reservers are giving you a peek at their true nature. Just like never continue to date someone who treats the waitstaff poorly.

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So you won't eat at Komi, Rogue 24, or the Minibar? Really? How does signing a contract make you a peasant? Peasants attend the opera? I didn't realize those people in tuxes are peasants. I didn't realize I'm a peasant.

Showing up exactly when told, streaming into your cramped seat when they ring the bell like Pavlovian cattle at the abbatoir, experiencing bad sightlines and dubious sound (sorry, just located the position of my tickets for the NSO next Friday, a touch bitter), paying outlandish money for terrible wine? Sounds like peasantry to me.

But, the opera is selling the music, the fact that you're treated like a commodity is secondary. A restaurant delivers both food and service, and charges out the ass for it. they need to deliver twice.

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Sure hasn't hurt the airlines.

Um, if you're trying to sell the airlines' business model to other industries, I think you've got some very heavy lifting ahead.

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