“Good evening, two for dinner?”
“Yes, actually, we have a reservation, but it doesn’t look like we need one.”
I have heard this dialogue more times than Michael Jackson has had plastic surgery. Maybe we can recycle him when he dies? Yes, reservations exist in order to guarantee that a party will have a table set aside when they arrive. That is their main function. So why, when a group of people arrive at a restaurant and see that it is mostly empty, do they feel inclined to comment on how their reservation is unnecessary. If I make an appointment with a mechanic and when I arrive I am the only car he is working on, do I say to him, “looks like I didn’t need an appointment”. Who knows, maybe the entire rest of his day is booked after me. Maybe he wanted to get piss drunk on the streets of TJ the night before and start work at noon. Maybe the entire restaurant is booked at six thirty and your party is just the first to arrive out of fifteen other parties. You have no clue. Therefore, when you make a reservation and you walk in to a restaurant, regardless of whether it is slammed or empty, be thankful that your reservation has served its purpose. And instead of making some cliche ignorant comment like “it doesn’t look like we needed one”, which by the way is insulting to a restaurant, have some class and tell whoever is seating you thank you for setting aside such a nice table for your party.
It seems like the logical thing to do. Call someone, ask for something, get what you asked for, and be thankful for it. But the percentage it happens is about as high as Bush’s approval ratings.
From a restaurant’s perspective, reservations are very helpful. It is always nice to be able to expect people over the course of the evening. It also allows restaruants to gauge how busy they are going to be. It helps them regulate how much they need to prep and how much staff to keep on which in turn minimizes waste (good for the environment) and overhead which keeps costs down (that means patrons pay less). As a whole it is beneficial to both restaurants and patrons.
Eat well and often, and be inclined to call ahead and let your favorite local spot know that they are going to be seeing you on a certain date to enjoy a wonderful meal. Sure things are terrible, but tomorrow begins a time when everyone should be getting together, friends and strangers, to celebrate the progress of the United States and the coming change in both the present and the future.