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Restaurants where you can't book, walk ins only

(46 Posts)
SomethingLike Sat 28-May-16 09:09:58

AIBU to find these places a huge faff? Also to feel they're increasing in number?

I know I can just not go- BUT my favourite restaurant (food wise) is walk ins only. It's the only place that does a specific dish I really love and in the past month I have attempted to go three times. So I walk into reception and ask how long I have to wait for a table of two. The first two occasions I was told 90 minutes. I was starving so went elsewhere.

Last night I had a plan. I work near said restaurant and was meeting a friend after work for dinner. She couldn't meet me until 7.30pm. So at 6pm I went into restaurant and asked if I could put my name down for a table for two. 45 minute wait this time. I explained I was meeting my friend at half seven but they couldn't give me that time it was 6.45 or nothing, so I went back at 6.15 and got our names down for a 7.30pm table. It was such a faff!

I know a lot of people seemingly don't mind as the place is obviously very busy but does anyone else find this an annoying policy, not being able to just call up and book a table for when you want to go?

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 28-May-16 09:17:21

Stop going then...

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 09:18:57

I think it's a pita too, I don't go to them. I real like Brindisa but will only go to the ones where I can book.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 09:19:23

So yes, it is an annoying policy, completely!

TendonQueen Sat 28-May-16 09:19:33

There's a place I'd like to try, but haven't yet been to because it has this policy. But as long as they get enough business they'll stick with it. I don't like it as a trend.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 09:22:58

Jay Rayner agrees

Bolograph Sat 28-May-16 09:23:07

They're fed up of people booking tables and not showing up, which then leaves them an empty table they could have given to a walk-in. For small restaurants, a single table no-showing on a Saturday night might be the difference between profit and loss that night, and I know one place which only has about 20 covers which once had three tables, about ten people, no-show.

Unlike with hotels you don't secure your booking with a credit card that can be charged, so what the hell are small restaurants supposed to do? Big places are rarely full, and even if they are the odd no-show doesn't harm them proportionately anything like as much. But a small restaurant, reliant on being absolute full on a couple of nights a week? It makes perfect sense.

curren Sat 28-May-16 09:26:03

The reason is that people don't show up.

Even when you take deposits, you will find some people from a group don't turn up, or not turn up at all. When you own a business and you have turned away other people because you have booked it's damaging to the evenings take when tables don't turn up or only turn up with less than what they have booked.

A lot of people also get offended at having to leave deposits.

Maybe get pissed off that it's seemingly acceptable to book tables and not turn up. People forget that restaurants are a business.

They are doing what's best for them to make money. Which is the reason it's there.

SomethingLike Sat 28-May-16 09:26:24


That's made me happy I love Jay Rayner!

Also it's not a small restaurant it's a huge one over two floors in the middle of a city.

2rebecca Sat 28-May-16 09:27:48

I can see the advantage for the restaurant, no empty tables and faster turn around.
It sounds as though you either book somewhere else or accept you turn up early put your name down and then go to a near by pub for a while.
In some ways I'd rather have this than a restaurant that is booked solid for 2 months, or restaurants that prioritise celebrities and never have a table for people they haven't heard of.

acasualobserver Sat 28-May-16 09:28:53

Learn how to cook that specific dish you really love.

curren Sat 28-May-16 09:30:14

It's a myth that big places can afford to have empty tables.

Bigger place means bigger running costs. Staff, rates, utilities etc.

treaclesoda Sat 28-May-16 09:32:56

I quite like places that don't take bookings, because it saves the horrible moment when you are in a strange place and wander in somewhere and ask for a table just for them to laugh at you, as if their restaurant is so famous that any stranger passing through should know that you can't just walk in.

OwlinaTree Sat 28-May-16 09:33:00

It's annoying if you are planning a night out, you can't choose somewhere you can't book incase they can't seat 8. You end up having to choose somewhere you can book.

I can see the opposite is also a problem; if you book for 8 then don't turn up.

wallybantersjunkbox Sat 28-May-16 09:37:10

But don't they sometimes have a booking allowance for large parties?

I guess also for some restaurants with a bar, there's a likelihood you'll stop and sup for 30-40 minutes. But when you queue and see empty tables just sat there or covered in dirty dishes - that really grinds my gears.

The worst one was a Dino restaurant in Orlando Disney village where you queued to get a number and joined a queue to use that number to get a table then queued again to wait for your available table. I thought I'd be extinct by the end of it. hmm

EweAreHere Sat 28-May-16 09:43:17

We generally only go to places we can book because we've been hung out too many times trying to get seated as a family of 5, or with 7-8 when relatives are visiting. Nothing worse than hungry children and no available tables whenever you try to eat out, yet you can't book.

Mrsbadger77 Sat 28-May-16 09:43:53

Alternatively I get so fed up with always having to book everything in advance nowadays : flights, trains, theatre etc. It's nice to be spontaneous. I don't know about your particular restaurant but in my experience you never have to wait as long as they tell you.

Tragicomical Sat 28-May-16 09:55:52

Dishoom in various locations through London can have people queuing up outside for hours! Not my idea of a fun night!

limitedperiodonly Sat 28-May-16 09:57:25

I won't go to restaurants who do this. All businesses have problems and no-shows in restaurants are one of the downsides of running that kind of business.

It's a clever trick of some restaurateurs to get their customers to feel sorry for them and to eliminate the problem by ensuring tables are always busy and there's a queue, suggesting the place is really good, stretching outside the door.

It's even better for them to get people to spend a fortune at the bar for an hour waiting for a table that might never materialise or that they might be too drunk to enjoy the food when it does.

I make an exception for two places that have this policy. It's because I know the managers and tip well and so we jump the queue. That's the way to get round a walk-in policy. It's not quite so egalitarian when you know that.

firesidechat Sat 28-May-16 10:01:01

Is it a cheap and cheerful type place op? If it is I can understand that they don't take bookings because they rely on a swift throughput of diners and booked tables frequently sit empty for periods even if the bookers turn up.

LizzieMacQueen Sat 28-May-16 10:06:09

I think these restaurants must be in cahoots with the local bars.

evelynj Sat 28-May-16 10:06:54

Wow, I thought you were going to mean waiting for a table with children! That is a pita in such places let me tell you. If I was going with grown ups Id just go somewhere else & get used to the fact that you can't have your favourite things all the time.

Fwiw, when we go to these places as a family my tactic is to get there 10-30 mins before opening & wait outside!

curren Sat 28-May-16 10:08:38

Of course all businesses have down sides.

And as a business you work to lessen the impact.

Makes me laugh that you object to this, but quite happy to push in because you tip well.

I tip well. It's a choice. I don't expect any special treatment because of it.

SomethingLike Sat 28-May-16 10:09:38

Where did I say I tip well and push in? What are you talking about? Don't understand X

curren Sat 28-May-16 10:10:47

Sorry op not you, the op who said those things

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