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Old 01-15-2011, 04:15 PM   #1
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When dining out...

I had some questions of what others thought in regards to table reservations and how long you dine.

If you have made a reservation for a table at a restaurant, is that table "yours" for the rest of the evening?

What if you've made an early dinner reservation... say 7PM and it's a special "date night" with your significant other or some other special occasion? Do you think it would be okay, as long as you are still ordering and S.L.O.W.L.Y eating and drinking, to remain at the table for say, 3 or 4 hours (or until closing)?

How do you react, when (if) the maître d'(hôtel) were to approach you and ask you to finish your meal (or giving really strong hints), as there is another booking you are keeping waiting?

For lesser fine dining, if you just walk into a restaurant and you want a leisurely meal that lasts a couple of hours and the waitress gets huffy about it after a bit, what do you do?

I've run across this in America every once in a while, but never abroad. Sometimes, when dh and I have a rare night to ourselves, we don't want a dinner and a movie or a dinner and dancing... we just want a nice, long, relaxing dinner where we can order our courses leisurely. The meal is the whole "date". More and more often, though, we're running into the attitude that after an hour we're no longer welcome. Give the darn tip and move on.

We're not card-carrying "Slow Food Movement" members, but feel that when we can, we should, take our time when out.

What are your thoughts on it? Is the table yours for the evening or should you give it up? FTR, in these cases, we not only factor in the bill when giving a tip, but what the overall per-hour rate for the server would be, so they are not getting short-changed any by having us there... unless they get huffy.

I don't think there are any right or wrong answers to this and it can probably go both ways - just wondering what others think. I'm sure there are some "behind-the-scenes" restaurant issues to this that I'm not thinking about as the patron.

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Old 01-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #2
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The restaurant is expecting to turn that table over every 45 - 60 minutes. Unless you are spending the equivalent of a full meal for two for each hour, you are messing with their bottom line.

With that being said...I believe it is your table until you are ready to leave.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:32 PM   #3
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When making a reservation before theatre, I'll let the maitre d' know we have a curtain to make. That gives several messages such as we'll be done by 7:30 and need to be done by then.
If making a reservation for a long slow meal, I'll tend to make it late, say 7:30 or 8 and expect to be there to the end.
If making an early reservation, I expect the restaurant to want to turn the table.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:45 PM   #4
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I think a 45-60 min. time line for an upscale expensive restaurant isn't reasonable, although they may want that, it's not going to happen in my world. A three hour date night sounds more like it.
An ordinary restaurant, ok, that sounds about right.

I agree the bottom line, is the table is yours until you choose to leave, certainly if you are continuing to eat and drink.

Interesting subject, velochic....I'm sure there will be many responses.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
I think a 45-60 min. time line for an upscale expensive restaurant isn't reasonable, although they may want that, it's not going to happen in my world. A three hour date night sounds more like it.
An ordinary restaurant, ok, that sounds about right.

I agree the bottom line, is the table is yours until you choose to leave, certainly if you are continuing to eat and drink.

Interesting subject, velochic....I'm sure there will be many responses.
I completely agree...but that is what they wish for, even if it does take you 20-30 minutes to get your meal.

Personally, if waitstaff gets huffy with me, it takes me much longer to chew and digest...
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Personally, if waitstaff gets huffy with me, it takes me much longer to chew and digest...
Haa Haa.....so it's not just me? That's when I get all "Ms. Manners" and chew each bite 10 times, dabbing my napkin to the corners of my mouth, and carefully folding the napkin back into my lap, preparing ever so carefully for the next morsel.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:00 PM   #7
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Has anyone ever sent food back because it was too soon? I have. Sometimes I like to spend some time eating a course before the next one comes, and sometimes the restaurant wants to push you through the meal.

I don't feel as bad for the restaurant when lingering, but you have to remember the wait staff needs the turn over as well, or they don't make any, or much, money. Of course I do expect them top provide good service, but if they do you may want to tip a little more when you spend considerably more time at the table.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:00 PM   #8
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In an upscale restaurant, there shouldn't be any time limit expectations. You're there to savor the fine dining and carefully prepared meal. I'm sure table turnover times for an upscale place are a lot longer than 45-60 minutes. And remember, any turnover rate is an average.

For lower cost and chain restaurants, you get your food faster and they don't expect you to stay. A 45-60 minute turnover makes more sense there.

I've been rushed and cannot abide it. We often manage dinner times by ordering one course at a time.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:05 PM   #9
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I admit, I may not have ever eaten in what you folks are calling an Upscale Restaurant...for me it's upscale if the napkins are cloth.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:26 PM   #10
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Frank, velochic said this:

Quote:
in these cases, we not only factor in the bill when giving a tip, but what the overall per-hour rate for the server would be, so they are not getting short-changed any by having us there... unless they get huffy.
I think that's very generous and thoughtful, frankly not something I would have thought of considering a normal tip for an expensive meal.
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