Kitchen Think: No-Shows get the Heave-Ho


Do you cancel restaurant reservations if you can’t make it?

That’s the polite thing to do… but you know that.

Here’s another question: What do you think of restaurants that take your credit card number to “hold” a reservation… and then charge you if you are a no-show or cancel too close to the rezzy time?

In response to the tough economy, an increasing number of high-end restaurant owners are charging no-show customers and, in extreme cases, even refusing to take reservations from customers who have a history of cancelling.

If you’re loath to give your credit card number… just think how much it irks a restaurant to hold a table (especially for a large party) and have it go empty because the guests fail to show up.

In Australia, they’re not taking any prisoners. Restaurants regularly use Twitter to out no-show diners.

Is this fair?

Life happens. Things really do come up at the last minute that’ll prevent us from having dinner at that James Beard Award-winning restaurant… even if we’ve looked forward to the reservation for months.

But unless your mouth is swathed in bandages, or you’re holding your bleeding child in the emergency room (both of which have happened to me), how long does it take to pick up the phone and call and explain your predicament?

Sometimes a good reason/explanation/lie won’t help. There are a couple of NYC and LA restaurants that I’ve been to that charge $50 to $75 per person if the cancellation comes less than 48 hours in advance.

I’m sure that won’t cover the cost of what you would have eaten, but it’s probably enough to scare off those who aren’t sure where they want to dine that evening and make multiple reservations at multiple restaurants.

Some restaurants, like Chicago’s NEXT, make you pay in advance for the entire prix fixed meal… and if you want to eat during peak hours, you’ll pay even more.There have been very, very few complaints.

Kinda gives a whole new meaning to “Putting your money where your mouth is…”

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posted under The Kitchen Think

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: