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No Reservations - No, Really: No Reservations

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The lack of thought to the older people in this world makes me ashamed of this website.  People saying they have no problem becuase they are 55- 55! lucky you. Try 65, 75, 85 - oh yeah the elders should not beable to go out for dinner but should just stay  home- maybe lock up all the elders in this city.  I am sure the "greatest generation" appreciates your thoughts.  By the way I am 55 as well.  Milleniums suck.    

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The lack of thought to the older people in this world makes me ashamed of this website.  People saying they have no problem becuase they are 55- 55! lucky you. Try 65, 75, 85 - oh yeah the elders should not beable to go out for dinner but should just stay  home- maybe lock up all the elders in this city.  I am sure the "greatest generation" appreciates your thoughts.  By the way I am 55 as well.  Milleniums suck.    

[Well, that's just peachy that you're concerned for the elderly, but please display enough acumen *not* to implicate this website in any of your misjudgments because when you implicate this website, you're directly implicating me. By all means, express your opinion like everyone else, but know that "this website" and I disavow any association with your gross generalization, "Milleniums suck."]

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The lack of thought to the older people in this world makes me ashamed of this website.  People saying they have no problem becuase they are 55- 55! lucky you. Try 65, 75, 85 - oh yeah the elders should not beable to go out for dinner but should just stay  home- maybe lock up all the elders in this city.  I am sure the "greatest generation" appreciates your thoughts.  By the way I am 55 as well.  Milleniums suck.    

Huh?

Please point to statements that show a "lack of thought to older people" or that "make you ashamed of this website".

I just re-read the whole thread and found no evidence of either.

And where is anyone "advocating that elders should not go out to dinner"?  (I won't even address the silliness of of the "lock them up" comment).

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The lack of thought to the older people in this world makes me ashamed of this website.  People saying they have no problem becuase they are 55- 55! lucky you. Try 65, 75, 85 - oh yeah the elders should not beable to go out for dinner but should just stay  home- maybe lock up all the elders in this city.  I am sure the "greatest generation" appreciates your thoughts.  By the way I am 55 as well.  Milleniums suck.    

To be perfectly frank, the problem of partial arrivals, no shows and late cancellations is due to all age groups.  Any age can and does abuse the social contract that is a restaurant reservation.

Right now, we are giving out reservations for the early turn for those who want to come in then and are first come first served later.

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Huh?

Please point to statements that show a "lack of thought to older people" or that "make you ashamed of this website".

I just re-read the whole thread and found no evidence of either.

And where is anyone "advocating that elders should not go out to dinner"?  (I won't even address the silliness of of the "lock them up" comment).

Sietsema writes: "The masses include senior citizens who might not be able to stand for long or don't go out after dark...I smell ageism.'

No one (save me) addressed that observation at all other than to dismiss it.  Therefore, very arguable that there is indeed a "lack of thought to older people."

Just sayin'.

Interestingly, I had a friend coming to town who wanted me to take her someplace interesting as she lives in some boring New Hampshire burg.  I though first of Little Serow and Rose's, but an inability to leave work early to stand in line, the unreliability of her conference schedule and the necessity of dashing around town in traffic or killing several hours in a bar on a school night -- and still not being guaranteed a seat means--  I booked elsewhere.

Not that we'll have a bad meal, and not that their bottom line will suffer and not that they can't run their business as they see fit.

But, on the other hand, I am inconvenienced and my friend will enjoy her trip to Washington less, and those are legitimate considerations as well.

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...But, on the other hand, I am inconvenienced and my friend will enjoy her trip to Washington less, and those are legitimate considerations as well. 

Can you please explain further?  I genuinely don't understand why going someplace else causes any of these problems.  A reservation seems very convenient to me because you won't have the stress of worrying about a wait or whether or not you get in, and you'll have a great meal and visit with your friend, which is what the trip is about anyway.  Plus, if you aren't waiting in line, she can hit one more museum or monument, making the trip that much better.  Win-win-win.

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Can you please explain further?  I genuinely don't understand why going someplace else causes any of these problems.  A reservation seems very convenient to me because you won't have the stress of worrying about a wait or whether or not you get in, and you'll have a great meal and visit with your friend, which is what the trip is about anyway.  Plus, if you aren't waiting in line, she can hit one more museum or monument, making the trip that much better.  Win-win-win.

Doesn't seem that complicated, but, let me lay it out for you.  If you can't go where you want to go, that diminishes your delight.  If you can't show your friend a cool restaurant that you think she would like a great deal, and that (likely) has better food than where you got a reservation. that diminishes the quality of your dining experience.  If she can't get to a place she would have liked, it diminishes her dining experience.  And she apparently isn't interested spending her non-obligated time at a museum or monument, which are less conducive to "catching up," as she didn't ask me to take her to a museum, she asked me to take her to dinner.

I'm intrigued by your ability to analyze my stress levels and preferences based on a four-sentence web posting. Even I didn't know that I'd rather go to dinner to where I'm going than to Little Serow until you pointed it out.  But now I feel better about not having options.

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I'm intrigued by your ability to analyze my stress levels and preferences based on a four-sentence web posting. Even I didn't know that I I'd rather go to dinner to where I'm going than to Little Serow until you pointed it out.  But now I feel better about not having options. 

No offense was meant, although it seems to have been taken.  An internet risk, I suppose.  I still don't really understand why there is such desire to go somewhere that makes it difficult to get in, no matter how good the food is.  Dinner is the entire experience, and I'll simply go elsewhere.  To those who choose to be angry, frustrated, put out, or offended, well, carry on.  :)

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No offense was meant, although it seems to have been taken.  An internet risk, I suppose.  I still don't really understand why there is such desire to go somewhere that makes it difficult to get in, no matter how good the food is.  Dinner is the entire experience, and I'll simply go elsewhere.  To those who choose to be angry, frustrated, put out, or offended, well, carry on.  :)

An excellent post.

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Let's see. I know what I want and anything else is by nature a step down in my hierarchy of desire, and so is not as good. VS. There are lots of places I consider worthy, so if one is less available to me, I can find another that will satisfy me equally.

As we used to say back in the day: "different strokes for different folks," or these days "whatever floats your boat," both particularly apt expressions in this case, with one of the involved parties having a penchant for rowing.

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As we used to say back in the day: "different strokes for different folks," or these days "whatever floats your boat," both particularly apt expressions in this case, with one of the involved parties having a penchant for rowing.

Would add, "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. -Beverly Sills"

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There are plenty of restaurants around town that are not particularly friendly to seniors or those with physical limitations for reasons that aren't restricted to not taking reservations. Indeed, even those that do take reservations may not be able to guarantee a comfortable or accessible space within which to wait if there's a delay, or a table that is easily accessible, or in a space where noise isn't an issue. I find it curious that throughout this issue of "hospitality," no one has actually documented a case where anyone at Rose's was directly inhospitable to a prospective diner, which indicates to me that they are pretty clear-eyed about their policy and handle with it relative aplomb, given the crowds. I find it sad that this gets focused so much on one restaurant, or pits one against another, which feels more like a resentment of popularity than a truly substantive criticism that goes beyond issues of personal convenience.

And, anyone who is sentimental about the "better" behaviors of seniors should go to the weekend movies at the National Gallery of Art, where it's the older viewers who are far ruder and more talkative than the younger generations.

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Doesn't seem that complicated, but, let me lay it out for you.  If you can't go where you want to go, that diminishes your delight.  If you can't show your friend a cool restaurant that you think she would like a great deal, and that (likely) has better food than where you got a reservation. that diminishes the quality of your dining experience.  If she can't get to a place she would have liked, it diminishes her dining experience.  And she apparently isn't interested spending her non-obligated time at a museum or monument, which are less conducive to "catching up," as she didn't ask me to take her to a museum, she asked me to take her to dinner.

I'm intrigued by your ability to analyze my stress levels and preferences based on a four-sentence web posting. Even I didn't know that I'd rather go to dinner to where I'm going than to Little Serow until you pointed it out.  But now I feel better about not having options.

This touched a nerve from my former life as an economics grad at U of C.  I can't afford to go to Fiola Mare because I simply don't value the dining experience by what a meal there will cost me.  By not going there, I am expressing economically that I don't want to go there given the price.  If it were free, or if Charles were to take me to listen to more of my economic genius, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

Charles can't afford to go to Little Serrow, or to Rose's Luxury, because some of the price is the lost time and the uncertainty the no reservations olicy created.  His not going shows that he doesn't want to go there given the total cost of the experience, no matter how will he is to pay the cash value of the cost.

My favorite philosopher, Dan Savage, speaks of the "Cost of Admission", usually in terms of a relationship.  Is what you don't like in a partner worth more to you than what you do?  If so, you are not willing to pay the cost of admission and you should DTMFA.  But what is true in annoying habits, sexual kinks, infidelity or lack of reservations, if it ain't worth the full cost of admission, DTMFA.  But focusing on not being able to go as if it's strictly the business' fault neglects the two way nature of any transaction.

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As the chef of a restaurant that doesn't take reservations please allow me a moment.

The reality of reservations for a restaurant my size (26 seats) is that it costs us money in more ways then just no-shows.  The cost of a reservations system is prohibitive for us, opentable which in my opinion is the only system worth using is around $300 per month plus a per person charge from $.25 - $.75.  In addition to this, I would need to hire someone to be at the restaurant to deal with reservations, as I'm the only person in the restaurant till around 3pm.  As far as dealing with pre payment or credit card guarantees, some folks get offended by them while others will go to the credit card company and have the charges overturned.  I've dealt with this in the past and it takes up a lot of time, and no one ends up happy.  Once again, with a small operation things become a lot more complicated when it comes to reservations.

I hope this sheds a little like on this issue from a small restaurant prospective.

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No offense was meant, although it seems to have been taken.  An internet risk, I suppose.  I still don't really understand why there is such desire to go somewhere that makes it difficult to get in, no matter how good the food is.  Dinner is the entire experience, and I'll simply go elsewhere.  To those who choose to be angry, frustrated, put out, or offended, well, carry on.  :)

I was a little pissy and apologize.  But, when I'm annoyed, being told why I shouldn't be annoyed, is kind of annoying.  I will respond after my snit has passed next time.

In an age where we expect Amazon to zoom hair care products to our doorstep overnight, the internet to give us music instantly and free, restaurants to give us a napkin that matches our outfits lest a thread of lint pollute our ensemble, and urgent care personnel to send us a "get happy" card to us after our collar bones are set, I remain a bit baffled as to why asking a restaurant permission to be served at a certain time is considered particularly demanding.

Let's see. I know what I want and anything else is by nature a step down in my hierarchy of desire, and so is not as good. VS. There are lots of places I consider worthy, so if one is less available to me, I can find another that will satisfy me equally.

As we used to say back in the day: "different strokes for different folks," or these days "whatever floats your boat," both particularly apt expressions in this case, with one of the involved parties having a penchant for rowing.

Sometimes, I'm pretty flexible. (Although the closest restaurant-rich environment to my current abode is 14th Street and none of the good restaurants there take reservations, thus giving me the option of inconveniencing myself, spending more than I want, or pinballing from joint to joint to see if there's await of less than an hour.  A challenge compounded if there are more than two people.)

But, sometimes, I want to go where I want to go, and not being able to do so in a convenient manner does cause the boat to float less well.

I find it sad that this gets focused so much on one restaurant, or pits one against another, which feels more like a resentment of popularity than a truly substantive criticism that goes beyond issues of personal convenience.

I have no idea where this comes from.

But focusing on not being able to go as if it's strictly the business' fault neglects the two way nature of any transaction.  

True.

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The outrage (or whatever you'd like to call it) aimed at popular restaurants that don't take reservations is basically of the same species as the resentment of the "popular" kids in high school.  People don't like to feel left out.  Rose's Luxury is "inaccessible" only to those who choose not to wait for a table.  Corduroy is inaccessible to anyone who is in a wheelchair or otherwise can't climb a flight of stairs, yet nobody here complains.

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So many interesting perspectives and wonderful articulation.  The thread is interesting to read.  BTW:  I had to look up DTMFA in urban dictionary.  Great philosophy.  I could have/should have used it in the past.  Though that is history.

I don't like waiting in line with a a completely unknown arrival time.  Just don't like it.  But to each his/her own, and it doesn't kill me that it renders going to Rose's and some other restaurants highly unlikely.

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The outrage (or whatever you'd like to call it) aimed at popular restaurants that don't take reservations is basically of the same species as the resentment of the "popular" kids in high school.  People don't like to feel left out.  Rose's Luxury is "inaccessible" only to those who choose not to wait for a table.  Corduroy is inaccessible to anyone who is in a wheelchair or otherwise can't climb a flight of stairs, yet nobody here complains.

This analogy only makes sense if a) it's other restaurateurs complaining that some "popular" restaurants get lots of business while treating their customers like dirt -- like the quarterback who treats all the girls badly but still always has a hot date -- or, b ) if people are complaining that the "cool kids" are using their popularity to line jump while the rest of us have to kill three hours.

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As the chef of a restaurant that doesn't take reservations please allow me a moment.

The reality of reservations for a restaurant my size (26 seats) is that it costs us money in more ways then just no-shows.  The cost of a reservations system is prohibitive for us, opentable which in my opinion is the only system worth using is around $300 per month plus a per person charge from $.25 - $.75.  In addition to this, I would need to hire someone to be at the restaurant to deal with reservations, as I'm the only person in the restaurant till around 3pm.  As far as dealing with pre payment or credit card guarantees, some folks get offended by them while others will go to the credit card company and have the charges overturned.  I've dealt with this in the past and it takes up a lot of time, and no one ends up happy.  Once again, with a small operation things become a lot more complicated when it comes to reservations.

I hope this sheds a little like on this issue from a small restaurant prospective.

Aside from the attitudes and concerns there is a strict business perspective.  How does this issue affect the bottom line and ability to earn a living, pay the staff, purchase food, purchase every other danged thing you need for the business.  For some businesses it doesn't make sense.

On the other hand, as a business I sure would like guarantees, if in fact reservations were "guarantees" or even a "social contract between reservation maker and the restaurant" as one writer put it.

But they aren't a social contract, as evidenced by the volume of reservation no shows and the volume of reservations made without ever cancelling a reservation.  It appears they are a "tool" to protect one's own interests and damn the restaurant in the eyes of too many.  It seems to me the last thing they are is a "social contract".

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I was a little pissy and apologize.  But, when I'm annoyed, being told why I shouldn't be annoyed, is kind of annoying.  I will respond after my snit has passed next time.

No harm done, and, as a youngest child, telling people what to do isn't really my schtick.  I do, however, genuinely want to understand why people behave very differently than I would in the same situation.  If you read my post and hear the voice of a confused Mr. Spock in your head, you'll get a decent sense of my demeanor.

I'm still casting a vote for the restaurants of excellent food and least resistance.

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If you want to be sure of a first seating to Rose's Luxury or Little Serow, just have someone in your party line up 30 minutes before the door opens.  We've done this on Saturdays and were always able to get in (even as larger parties of 4 or 6).  They're popular restaurants, but hardly comparable to NYC cronut lines.  We were at Rose's last Saturday and I think everyone who got in line before the door opened got a table or got seats upstairs.

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As the chef of a restaurant that doesn't take reservations please allow me a moment.

The reality of reservations for a restaurant my size (26 seats) is that it costs us money in more ways then just no-shows.  The cost of a reservations system is prohibitive for us, opentable which in my opinion is the only system worth using is around $300 per month plus a per person charge from $.25 - $.75.  In addition to this, I would need to hire someone to be at the restaurant to deal with reservations, as I'm the only person in the restaurant till around 3pm.  As far as dealing with pre payment or credit card guarantees, some folks get offended by them while others will go to the credit card company and have the charges overturned.  I've dealt with this in the past and it takes up a lot of time, and no one ends up happy.  Once again, with a small operation things become a lot more complicated when it comes to reservations.

I hope this sheds a little like on this issue from a small restaurant prospective.

Welcome, Chef Boden!!!  I don't think that some others recognize your name but your restaurant is The Shack in Staunton which I mentioned in another thread.  It is an honor to have you on here.  Also, congratulations on being a semi finalist for a James Beard Mid Atlantic Award this past year!

Your restaurant is different.  When we were there last Thursday night, at 5:45PM, there were a total of 14 people at the 7 tables.  When we left around 7:30 the same seven tables hosted a total of 19 people.  You literally have no room for no-shows.  If one table of four doesn't show up it could be 25% of the revenue for one service.  (six tables X 2 + 0 at the seventh table).  On Wednesday and Thursday night you also do not offer the prix fixe menu you have on Friday and Saturday.  Your's is a different kind of restaurant; for some, perhaps for many on those nights, your's is a very casual destination given to impulse, not to reservation.

My criticism of another restaurant is based on the total capacity of probably eighty to one hundred including bar seats.  I believe in that kind of situation there is an opportunity to hold a handful of tables for a very early reservation.  If people do not show up, fifteen minutes after opening, someone in line (if there is one) could take their place.  You are on a side street in Staunton.  There is very little foot traffic-you are strictly a destination,  I believe your situation is different.  Plus, with 14-19 actual diners in the restaurant there is no possibility of having someone on a phone.  You were the only person in the kitchen when we were there and both in the dining room were totally involved with diners.  A larger restaurant is different.

Again, an honor to have you on here!

Here is the thread for Chef Boden's The Shack in Staunton.

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I would also like to know who in the neighborhood has the time to stand in line enough to be a regular?

My brother-in-law. Eats there all the time, usually at the bar, lives four blocks away and loves it.

I think the rules that Rose's Luxury put into place makes a lot of sense for them and is quite reasonable for enough of the people who actually patronizes them.

Like my brother-in-law and his wife. As residents of the neighborhood ( BTW, which is probably the target demographic of Rose's), if the wait when they get there is too long, they just walk (or ride their bikes) someplace else.

The Red Hen does strike a nice balance and I appreciate it.

Having been to both, I think the Red Hen is a better restaurant, but you can't really make reservations at Red Hen either.

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My brother-in-law. Eats there all the time, usually at the bar, lives four blocks away and loves it.

Like my brother-in-law and his wife. As residents of the neighborhood ( BTW, which is probably the target demographic of Rose's), if the wait when they get there is too long, they just walk (or ride their bikes) someplace else.

Having been to both, I think the Red Hen is a better restaurant, but you can't really make reservations at Red Hen either.

Red Hen accepts very early (i.e. 5 or 5:30 depending on when they open) and very late such such as 9:30 or 10.  Their website currently notes they are not accepting reservations through e-mail or social media but suggests calling for availability.

Absolutely love Red Hen!

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This seems like one of those situations where we need to turn to wise women for guidance, in this case, the Marvelettes, from 1964:

Don't want nobody that don't want me

(too many fish in the sea)

Don't need nobody that don't need me

(too many fish in the sea)

or Mr. Jagger:

You can't always get what you want...

May I point out, without pissing anybody off, that--hey, look: the Waitman don't wanna wait!  (it's one of them irony things, unless I've mixed up my tropes, a la Ms. Morissette)

I'm 60 now and I'm probably not going to stand in line at a no reservations place for more than a half hour to 45 minutes, so I get where Waitman (not-gonna-wait, man!) is coming from. If bar dining is not available, abundant, and quicker, I'm usually just gonna have to wait (not in line but, like, elsewhere) until the hot restaurant of the season cools off over the period of a couple years...or go at off peak hours.  Waitman knows this, his posts over the years indicate he's neither stupid nor is he entitled, he's just saying, in his opinion, it sucks.  I don't hear him blaming the restaurant, or suggesting they ought to change to fulfill his expectations--just saying it's off-putting to him personally, and when replicated throughout town, an off-putting trend, an opinion he certainly has the right to hold.

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