Being late for dining reservations

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by Chamonix, Feb 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Chamonix
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    Chamonix Silver Member

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    I'm not usually the kind of person who is late....for anything, but sometimes circumstances beyond my control <cough-husband is always late-cough> what do you do if you are going to miss your time?

    How late is "late"? So, if a reservation is for 7pm, are you expected to arrive, say, 15 minutes before that time?

    Do you call if you aren't arriving by 7pm?
     
  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    My rule of thumb is arriving within 15 minutes of my reserved time is perfectly fine. I tend to be right on time but 15 minutes I don't sweat it a bit. If I was going to be substantially late, e.g. 30 minutes, I would call.
     
  3. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Seconding the 15 minutes either way. Earlier is an imposition; later gives the restaurant the right to give away your table - both can usually be corrected and/or forgiven with a phone call.
     
  4. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    I've lost reservations being 15 minutes late. I would definitely call if you are going to be over 10 minutes late. I try to get there 5-10 minutes early, unless I want to sit at the bar for awhile first.
     
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  5. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    Concur with the 10 minute rule, but I think its flexible given where you are? NYC? Definitely 10 minutes at certain places. Hawaii? For some places, within 30 minutes. Caribbean? Sometime that evening [​IMG]
     
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  6. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    My rule of thumb; if you are not going to be 5 minutes early, give them a call with an ETA. I hate to lose a seat and have to wait even longer for dinner.
     
  7. kellio
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    kellio Gold Member

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    If I know I'm going to be even 5 minutes late I call.
     
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  8. sleepyintheair
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    sleepyintheair Silver Member

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    Agreed, takes very little to call while en route, and if I'm going to be more than 10 minutes late I tend to ask when it would be most convenient to be seated as I've already messed with their logistics for the evening.
     
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  9. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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    If the dining establishment is a fine dining one the yes I would call regardless of how little I am going to be late. If a little more relaxed, then I may allow myself 5-10 min grace before I call.
     
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  10. diver90
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    diver90 Gold Member

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    If I am going to be late, I call. There are two benefits. They know what's happening and tend to be more understanding and accommodating. I feel better because I did what I believed to be the right thing.
     
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  11. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    I call if I'm going to be 5 min plus late. On the other side of this is getting to the resto and being seated 30 plus min. late because parties are lingering.
     
  12. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    As an employee at one of the restaurants consistently rated "best of" Philly, I can tell you that our policy is to give away a table if you are 15 minutes late and we haven't heard from you, although we also attempt to contact you at the number on your reservation first. That being said, please don't arrive 15 minutes (or more) early and expect to be sat immediately, as this is often just as inconvenient.
     
  13. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    I'm rarely late, but do always call the minute I realize I'm not going to be there 5 minutes early. I can't think of a restaurant that hasn't accommodated me---and they always thank me for calling, too.
     
  14. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Depends on where I am and when I'm eating.

    Here in DC, if I'm at one of the restaurants I frequent for business lunches/dinners, I don't worry much about it if I'm a little late. I don't tend to go on busy nights and tend to eat lunch after the rush so I know they'll have a table available and I've been to the places I go often enough that they're not going to hold me up from being 15 or 20 minutes late.

    If it's a a Thursday-Saturday night, I try to be there a little early for a drink in the bar and to avoid messing with their ability to turn tables. If I'm going to be late in those situations, I'd call if it were more than a few minutes late.

    Back home in Texas or in many of the places I've lived in the southwest or mountain west, as long as I'm there within a half hour or so of a reservation it's usually fine.

    When I'm seeing family or friends in Mexico, as long as it's the same night it's usually okay.
     
  15. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    I have an acquaintance who likes to be 15 minutes late because it makes her seem 'in demand'. When she gets in trouble is when she really is running late and it becomes 30 minutes (15 plus 15). :rolleyes:
     
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  16. Bob Smolinsky
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    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

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    People should lose their table after 15 mins if there is a line for them.
     
  17. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    One of my favorite restaurants in France does not even make a time. They only have a single seating anyway so you come when you wish. Another of my favorites will give the table away if you're 15 minutes late. The two are about ten minutes apart.

    I call if the restaurant values promptness. If I do not know the restaurant I arrive on time, otherwise I call and ask if it is OK to be however late I expect to be. Basically i think it is horribly rude to be late, so I am very rarely late. As they say in Rio de Janeiro "English Hours"
     
  18. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    15 minutes is usually an acceptable threshold. If all else fails hit the golden arches and eat you fillet-o-fish with a knife and fork.
     
  19. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It seems to be local custom, but generally 15 minutes is OK. Beyond that, I try to call. I would not arrive more than a few minutes early.

    I've known of a few exceptions (very busy restaurants, some that would really prefer not to take reservations) where one is warned when making a reservation that the entire table must be present within five minutes of the reservation time or else!
     

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