There's a hot, trendy restaurant that you're just dying to get into, but they're booked solid for weeks. Or, you're trying to get a table for 4 at eight o'clock, and they've only got a five o'clock and a ten o'clock available. A popular, new spot books up fast, and by the time you can check it out, there's something newer and hotter already happening.
What do you do if you have your heart set on that one specific spot, if you have a celebration or a client next week? For some helpful tips on getting through the door,
- Ask to be placed on their cancellation list. Many people double and triple book their reservations, especially if they're visiting from out of town, so the likelihood of getting a canceled spot is higher than you think
- Ask if they keep tables open for walk-ins only. Some restaurants save a few tables for walk-ins, as those table tend to turn over faster than reserved tables.
- If the restaurant has a lounge, ask if you can get full dinner service at the bar or in the lounge area. You never know, you might like the atmosphere more than the dining room; the bar area can be looser and more festive.
- When you're ready to leave, introduce yourself to the host. Let them know how much you enjoyed your meal and your evening. Establish a relationship. The more you're seen eating or drinking at their establishment, the more likely it is they'll look out for you.
- Make friends with your waiter and tip well. They have a say on the reservation books as well.
- Most restaurants have a website where you can make reservations. Some sites like City Search and Open Table offer a certain number of tables that are open specifically for online reservations.
I hope you'll find these tips helpful the next time you have trouble getting a reservation. Good luck, and let me know if you've got a good tip or two!