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Who is unreasonable here - the staff or the potential customers?

(142 Posts)
blankpieceofpaper Sat 10-Sep-16 23:55:20

A reasonably busy tourist city today at lunchtime: we enter one of those vintage style tea and cake/ lunch tea rooms about midway through the lunch peak time. We meet the staff just after entering and its established that we do want lunch - not just drinks and begin to make their way to a table. It's in the next 'room' of the cafe and we are tersely are told its a table for four. Bit of confusion here over us thinking that means its reserved and we then make their back into main part of cafe there is a raised section with four out of five tables free so we begin to head there - it is quieter and there are window seats. We are stopped again - no, those are tables for four/ five (maybe ... if two people squashed on benches!). There is a table for two but it is currently dirty and full of plates, she will clear it for us. This table is squashed right by the serving hatch in the busier area. I've experienced this before and would prefer not to... but no, same blunt tone - this is the only table we can have.

Anyway, long and the short of it is, we leave a cafe about a third full and find a great one a few streets over. Happy ending all round - they kept their table rules and we were eventually fed.

I was just a bit amazed! They have great reviews on tripadvisor, but I spoke to a friend who went in there as a single person and was asked to move tables. Does this happen anywhere else?!

BewtySkoolDropowt Sun 11-Sep-16 00:02:16

I don't think it's unreasonable for two people to be asked sit at a table for two.

I am not sure what the problem with two people on a bench is. A bench for one person is a stool.

VimFuego101 Sun 11-Sep-16 00:02:34

I assume it was a 'seat yourself' place - if so, YANBU. If they want to control who sits where and make sure parties of 2 don't sit on a table for 8, they should have someone seating everyone Rather than letting them pick their own table.

Porg Sun 11-Sep-16 00:02:50

We have a pub that does similar. The food is really nice so a colleague took some clients there for lunch. Halfway through they were told that they had to move to a smaller table. Shocking customer service.

Doggity Sun 11-Sep-16 00:04:34

If they were really busy, then I'd expect to ask to not to use a bigger table but given that they weren't, you are totally NBU.

OlennasWimple Sun 11-Sep-16 00:07:55

YANBU - I hate that thing of holding the "best" table for the party of 6 who may or may not turn up

blankpieceofpaper Sun 11-Sep-16 00:08:34

Yes, it was a seat yourself place.

Ordinarily of course I would want to sit at a table for two - but the only one left was still dirty and right by the serving hatch where they were walking in and out. There were at least six other tables free and we'd said we wanted lunch not just a coffee or whatever.

The benches were in window boxes and it looked like it would be a squash for two people to sit. Those tables were similar in size to the ones for two - you just sat round in a square instead.

Yes, it was a seat yourself place - resulting in our initial confusion.

WorraLiberty Sun 11-Sep-16 00:11:44

Someone should have been polite enough to show you to a clean two seater table.

But no, of course it's not unusual during peak lunchtime, to want to sit two people at a two seater table.

RedSoloCup Sun 11-Sep-16 00:25:20

I work a section in a restaurant and I think it's mean to give someone a table if they don't look impressed. I showed a '2' to a table for '2' tonight and they didn't look happy so I gave them a bigger table (that wasn't reserved) I always think please the current customer as the next one might not even come!

Ditsy4 Sun 11-Sep-16 00:36:12

It isn't but if it was dirty and near the serving hatch I think you should have the prerogative to move to another table even for four but not six or eight.
I would have left too.
We recently went to one on holiday I didn't think we would get the lunch menu because it was nearly 3. We wanted the seafood platter to share.The lady told us we could sit wherever we wanted and we could have anything we liked lunch menu or tea menu. The waitress was lovely and helped make our meal enjoyable.

DixieWishbone Sun 11-Sep-16 00:38:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rumpelstiltskin143 Sun 11-Sep-16 02:59:36

We had the opposite experience in a small cafe in Yorkshire, we were only getting coffee so we sat at a small table tucked in a corner. A very nice woman came out of the back and insisted we moved to two comfy armchairs near the fire. Don't you know it, but we ended up buying sandwiches and some cake, because she made us so welcome and comfortable.

Trifleorbust Sun 11-Sep-16 07:32:15

YABU. If you sit yourselves at a giant table in the middle of lunch, you are making sure a bigger group - who will pay for four lunches, not two - will go over the road because they physically can't fit at the table for two. They are trying to run a business. Just take the table for two until you come back with a bigger group.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Sun 11-Sep-16 07:55:09

But trifle how do you know the next guests will be a group of 4 what if the next 3 groups to enter were all groups of 2? Do they get to sit at the bigger tables or are they told to leave as blank has just taken the only table for 2?? Seriously short sighted of the cafe, it's always better business to please the current customer than wait for a group who might not even visit.

CafeCremeEtCroissant Sun 11-Sep-16 08:27:45

If they don't have a nice table for two, you take the next size up. Just because you are single/two doesn't mean you have to sit at a table next to the serving hatch.

They were extremely rude, I'm glad you went elsewhere.

FriskyFrog Sun 11-Sep-16 09:00:21

Busy tourist location, and at lunchtime, but you didn't want lunch, only drinks, and the two of you wanted to occupy a table for four?


You say you ate elsewhere afterwards. Why not have your drinks there?

TheFarceAwakens Sun 11-Sep-16 09:05:24

They did want lunch there.

blankpieceofpaper Sun 11-Sep-16 09:07:02

Friskyfrog please read the thread carefully. I have stated in both my posts we had established we wanted lunch, not just drinks. And that there were several tables free.

It's great to hear about the lovely treatment others have had elsewhere. I've experienced similar and how it makes a difference, so I am not saying this is typical of all cafes.

JustSpeakSense Sun 11-Sep-16 09:08:30

FriskyFrog they did want to eat there

Trifleorbust Sun 11-Sep-16 09:20:57

Yes, if there are only tables for 4 available then you put the next pair at one of those. But as long as you have tables appropriate to the group coming in, it is perfectly reasonable to seat them at one of those. Bloody precious, people who think they're too good to sit at a small table just because there is a bigger one empty at the height of lunch.

RaspberryOverload Sun 11-Sep-16 09:26:28

Porg Sun 11-Sep-16 00:02:50

We have a pub that does similar. The food is really nice so a colleague took some clients there for lunch. Halfway through they were told that they had to move to a smaller table. Shocking customer service.

That is bad service. Fine to put groups on appropriately sized tables in busy periods (ie seat a couple at a 2-person table) but moving people during service is totally wrong.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Sun 11-Sep-16 09:27:23

Well the other thing is if you sit one end of table of 4 then two others can still sit at other end if the cafe fills quickly.

blankpieceofpaper Sun 11-Sep-16 09:34:09

Trifleorbust Yes, it was at the height of lunch, but as I have said, the cafe was only a third full and we would have had to wait about 10 minutes for her to clear this table.

With several tables free, it's not that 'precious' to prefer to be away from the noise of the counter where staff would walking right past your table frequently opening and closing the hatch. If the cafe had been nearly full, then of course fine, that's the only option.

Good point someone made about the next customers also being a couple - I don't know what would have happened.

HoppityFrogs Sun 11-Sep-16 09:39:04

YANBU. They should always please the customers that they have, now they have lost your custom and presumably the custom of anybody who you tell.
We came to visit our town before we moved here and went to have a coffee and lunch at a local cafe, DS was in a pushchair and we were told we had to leave the pushchair outside despite it being an umbrella fold one that would have fitted under our chairs. They were very rude about it and, 10 years later, we have never gone to that cafe so they have lost much repeated busy as we go out for coffee and lunch once a week.

HoppityFrogs Sun 11-Sep-16 09:39:37

business not busy!

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