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Is It OK For Restaurants to Cancel Reservations When Guests Don't Reconfirm?

Is It OK For Restaurants to Cancel Unconfirmed Reservations?

To land a dinner time for two at Tyler Florence's new restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, I booked a month in advance through OpenTable. Two days before my reservation, I received a message asking me to reconfirm. Before I had a chance to call back, I received another. In a standoffish tone, the hostess said, "We are calling to confirm your reservation for tomorrow night. If we do not hear from you by 7 p.m. today, then your reservation will be canceled."

I was entirely taken aback by the threat. This is an issue that San Francisco critic Michael Bauer has already brought to light. But here are my two cents: hadn't I already confirmed my presence when I booked the reservation? What if I'd been out of the country until the day of and couldn't call back to confirm? A gentle reminder phone call would've been more apropos. And at the end of the day, there are too many good restaurants that don't require reservations for this redundancy to be necessary. What do you think?

Source: Flickr User joey.parsons

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Akasha Akasha 5 years
@socalbeachgal: I just had this happen in Vegas. We made reservations at a restaurant for four people. The hostess left a message during the day of to confirm our reservation, but we were in a convention area with spotty cell service, and I didn't get the message. We arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes before our reservation time only to be informed that not only had our reservation been cancelled but they had charged my card $200 for the reservation. While my colleagues tried to reason with the manager I called AMEX and told them the situation who reversed the charge. When the manager found out that I went around him and called AMEX he apologized and offered to seat us right away. As we entered the restaurant seating area we realized the place was empty and all we had gone through was for nothing. We ended up going somewhere else not wanting to patronize a place with such horrific customer service.
Spectra Spectra 5 years
If you made the reservation that far in advance, I can see the point of them calling to confirm a reservation--what if you forgot about it and made other plans or something? I'm sure they just want to get an idea of how many tables will be occuppied. If you don't confirm, I think it's fine for them to cancel your reservation. Just as long as they give you a chance to call them back, I guess.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 5 years
I'm on the fence with this. It's very true that many people who make reservations are a no show. However, you are a restaurant! This is not a doctors office where someone who is very sick could be seeing the dr in your no showed appointment time. Usually many people just show up to restaurants hoping to get a table. I think they're taking themselves a little too seriously.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 5 years
I can see it from both sides but as THE customer, I don't like it. I don't like when restaurants require your credit card number just to make the reservation (and then charge you $50 for each person if you are a no-show).
finzup finzup 5 years
I think it's just rude to threaten to cancel a reservation .. especially since she had to wait so long for it. Not like they'd have a problem re-booking. I agree with the earlier commenters that it should be brought up with the management. Also I wouldn't really care too much about the hostess having to make lots of these types of calls. It's in their job description. Don't penalize someone for other people's mistakes
WarEagleNurse WarEagleNurse 5 years
Yes
LoveSarah LoveSarah 5 years
I can see this from both sides. I know how annoying it is to have a reservation no show, though I also see how this kind of reminder call could come across as rude.
bengalspice bengalspice 5 years
NYC restaurants have this policy all the time. I've never had a problem with calling them back. In fact, I call back even if it's to cancel. I don't think the hostess meant to be rude, but it's possible she has to do tons of these calls to make sure that every table is booked and that walk-ins can be accommodated. It's always frustrated to try to make a reservation someplace and the hostess they have to wait and see if someone shows up or calls to cancel minutes before they're reservation time. Some places have automatic cancellation if you don't check in within 15 minutes of your reservation time [Morimoto being a good example].
Food Food 5 years
I just want to know: When does it end? It's kind of like getting a gift, then writing a thank you note, then someone else writing you back to thank you for the thank you note...
girlA girlA 5 years
I would assume for a popular place like this, if someone was a no-show for their reservation, it isn't going to be a problem to refill the spot. I agree with onlysourcherry--bring it up to the manager, if anything, the rude hostess issue ought to be addressed.
snarkypants snarkypants 5 years
you would not believe how many people make reservations and don't show up. it's ridiculous. i think it's perfectly fine to cancel if you don't reconfirm, as long as they call to tell you, as in this case.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
how rude! I would bring it up with the manager and let him know you run a food blog!
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