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Old 02-26-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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Another Restaurant Thread

Tonight, SO and I had dinner with another couple at a local restaurant. It was a nice restaurant and the food was very good. Here's a link to their site: Moonstones Chelmsford

On the menu was a section on the bottom of one of the pages in the middle of the menu titled "the fine print". Several things listed there including dress code (look nice), turn off your cell phones (be important later), etc.

But, the one thing that really caught my eye was a statement that the restaurant schedules reservations for a table two hours apart and that we should be considerate of those who follow.

I have never seen a statement like this in a restaurant before and was annoyed by it. OK, two hours is a reasonable time for a couple having dinner but not nearly enough for a larger party. The four of us were there for three hours. This is not a casual, chain restaurant like Chili's or similar. It's step (or two) above. Everything about the place suggests you should expect a special dining experience.

So, what's your opinion? A reasonable request or the "bum's rush"?
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:21 PM   #2
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I know that many are split on this topic but, when I go to a very nice place, I do not expect to be rushed over dinner. Honestly, I rarely linger over food, but like to think that my reservation will allow me to do so.

If the restaurant told me that my reservation was for two hours, I would likely go elsewhere. If it was a place that I was taking someone who really wanted to go to that place, I would expect to be seated at the very time of my reservation, etc.

I loved going to Europe where meals were paced leisurely and the dining experience seemed luxurious even at casual places. At one point in life, we ate out a lot, but, lately, we have been eating more at home. Therefore, eating out has become very special to us. I tip well, tend to avoid chains, and expect to be able to linger on those rare occasions when I have the time to linger.

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Old 02-27-2011, 12:39 AM   #3
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"Bum's Rush"...I hate it!
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:47 AM   #4
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I personally do not have a problem with this.

I am sure every place has gone over how many customers they need to turn over every day to be a successful business. If they can not do that then they will lose money and not be able to keep doors open.

At least, in our area, a bar would seems more like a place to sit down for a few hours and chat with friends.

You would not only cost the restaurant money not being able to sit another customer but possible extra tip money for the wait staff, assuming you pay a % of the bill.

I am sure some restaurants may be set up for this but not all can. I have been to places that you could sit for hours but they also charged $75+ a plate. Again, my location I am sure is not the norm but that is my take.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:47 AM   #5
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LOL, lots of things to consider from a deceptively simple question as there are many potential 'hot buttons' just waiting to be pushed.
I've got no problem with a 'dress code' in an upscale restaurant but some of the other admonitions are patronizing to say the least.
I don't know Chelmsford so maybe a place like this is unique enough to have them 'standing in the aisles' and so they can get away with their 2 hour restriction. I can tell you for sure it wouldn't be tolerated in L.A., probably boston also, and would be a prescription for early closure. They're charging enough so that the customers shouldn't have to feel pressured to eat and leave in a designated time but...
I read the reviews (except the Boston Globe who want you to buy their review unless you're a subscriber) all from 08, so apparently it works for them.
So summary time--if they're enforcing their edict, they wouldn't get my business, if they're the only game in town, I might change my opinion!
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:48 AM   #6
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You and I have similar taste in restaurants and I totally agree with you. I haver never seen it on a menu and consider it pretty rude, indeed. I'd consider not going back.

On a related note, we had a fabulous dinner at this place which is up your way, sorta: http://www.evenfallrestaurant.com/
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:41 AM   #7
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I don't have a problem with the restaurant letting me know that their dinner reservations are scheduled for two hours. I would rather see that than have the waitperson hover close to my table with the hope that I will get up and leave.

If one is going out with a large group, probably a restaurant like that would not be the place to go. Maybe one could find a place that has a separate room for a large group. Or maybe one could go later, when the rush would be over. Or maybe one could have a pot luck at home where there are no time limits.

Thankfully, seriously, thankfully there are all kinds of people in this world and for that reason there are all kinds of restaurants. It is not possible for one restaurant to please everyone.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:54 AM   #8
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If the restaurant is packed and people are waiting to be seated, I have no problem with a two hour limit so long as I know about it in advance. If there are empty tables and no one waiting, then I'm going to take as long as I want. I'll even tip a little more just for the extended service.
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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I think it is only a request. It is obviously not an enforced policy since you stayed 3 hours. Did anyone make you feel as though you were not welcome when your 2 hours were up?
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:20 AM   #10
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We put rules in place to help us increase our sales. If you don't have rules to protect yourself, people will, and they do, abuse the situation. It is a private buisness after all. Most of the time we put them there incase we need to seat other parties. If there aren't any waiting, then it is usually no problem. You only have so much time in a day to make sales, and need to maximise them. If another party arrived and couldn't get a seat, that wouldn't be a good thing for your buisness either. They would probably think twice before returning to or recomending your place.

Like was said before. Its their place, so its there rules. You can choose to take it or leave it. Maybe next time you can plan to move the party to someplace else for dessert and drinks.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:31 AM   #11
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The restaurant selection in our area (North of Boston near NH) is huge. In the Chelmsford area alone there many restaurants that would compete for the same dining dollar.

We did not feel rushed at all but then the place was not full. We also did not slow down the process by putting the waitress off when she asked "are you ready to order". We sat, ordered drinks, she came back and we ordered everything but dessert. When she cleared and asked for dessert order, we ordered. The 3-hour dinner was not our doing. We cold have been out of there in 2:45 or so but sat and talked after the check was paid.


The 2-hour limit was really
fine print at to bottom of a menu page. I imagine most patrons never even see it.

I'd go back again because I enjoyed dinner. I'm not sure how the restaurant would deal with a table that was staying too long. If they came to my table and told me to 'wrap it up' because my two hours were up, I would not return.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
We put rules in place to help us increase our sales. If you don't have rules to protect yourself, people will, and they do, abuse the situation. It is a private buisness after all. Most of the time we put them there incase we need to seat other parties. If there aren't any waiting, then it is usually no problem. You only have so much time in a day to make sales, and need to maximise them. If another party arrived and couldn't get a seat, that wouldn't be a good thing for your buisness either. They would probably think twice before returning to or recomending your place.

Like was said before. Its their place, so its there rules. You can choose to take it or leave it. Maybe next time you can plan to move the party to someplace else for dessert and drinks.

You have to wait for a table in any of the good restaurants in the area. That's usually taken as a sign the place is good.

Why would I choose to go to a restaurant where I cannot eat an entire meal, where I am forced by a time limit to go elsewhere for dessert and coffee? I'd just go to a different restaurant for the entire meal.

I understand the need to turn tables over to make a buck. I think most restaurants count on the AVERAGE diner's taking two hours to complete a meal. That means some will take less time and same will take more time.

How would YOU enforce the two hour limit? I as a customer was not informed of it at reservation time, prior to arrival, or upon seating.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:40 AM   #13
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You and I have similar taste in restaurants and I totally agree with you. I haver never seen it on a menu and consider it pretty rude, indeed. I'd consider not going back.

On a related note, we had a fabulous dinner at this place which is up your way, sorta: Evenfall Restaurant & Lounge

Jen, thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:46 AM   #14
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I agree with rocklobster but I also think that, in all fairness, if a restaurant has a 2-hour limit rule then they should post it online with their menu. I checked out their link and it's not mentioned. People often go online to see a menu before making their reservation. It's too late to read it only after you've been seated in the restaurant. The restaurant does offer private rooms for larger parties where you can probably stay as long as you want.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:49 AM   #15
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You have to wait for a table in any of the good restaurants in the area. That's usually taken as a sign the place is good.

Why would I choose to go to a restaurant where I cannot eat an entire meal, where I am forced by a time limit to go elsewhere for dessert and coffee? I'd just go to a different restaurant for the entire meal.

I understand the need to turn tables over to make a buck. I think most restaurants count on the AVERAGE diner's taking two hours to complete a meal. That means some will take less time and same will take more time.

How would YOU enforce the two hour limit? I as a customer was not informed of it at reservation time, prior to arrival, or upon seating.
Deffinitely a sticky situation. Thankfully, I have never had to ask somebody to leave. Many times, though, at the end of the night I've shut the music down, cleared every last item off of the table, and turned off most of the lights.

I would have no problem going someplace else for dessert. Done it many times. This way, you get to go to two restaurants in one night. When the first place asks you for dessert, just tell them you don't want to go over your time limit. I'll bet they tell you its ok to stay. If not it will make them rethink their policy. Nobody says its perfect, but restaurants need to have some policy to enforce if it is neccessary. You wouldn't believe the abuse that some patrons are capable of. Most rules were put in place as a reaction to these.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #16
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...I would have no problem going someplace else for dessert. Done it many times. This way, you get to go to two restaurants in one night...

Sorry, I can't accept that. You see it as "...you get to go to two restaurants in one night...". I see it as I and forced to go to two restaurants in one night. It is a great deal easier and more palatable to me to just go to another restaurant for the entire meal.

What does it say about a restaurant when they impose a dinner time limit and can't serve a complete dinner in that time?
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:56 AM   #17
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I've never felt that I have to go to another restaurant. Sometimes we just do it for another place to go, or the place is known for their good desserts. Just adds more to the evening.

I also don't have a problem with people who want to spend more time in a resaurant. Perfectly reasonable and acceptable. If you want to go there again, maybe you should speak to them about their time limit. Or go someplace else. Ultimately, as the consumer, the choice is yours, Andy.

One thing I do have a problem with is the consumer feeling some sort of entitlement to the type of service they desire. Not every establishment has to conform to the demands of the public. Private buisness is not a democracy. They make their rules, which is their right, you decide if you want to accept them. Simple, really.

I hope I don't sound too serious, I do come off a bit sarcastic on line.

But, if you asked them, and were to spend a decent amount of money there, I'm sure they would have no problem with you staying for an extra hour.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:01 PM   #18
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What does it say about a restaurant when they impose a dinner time limit and can't serve a complete dinner in that time?
Then I would say that's their problem, and a word to management would be in order. With today's economic problems, no restaurant that I know can afford to upset potential returning customers.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:16 PM   #19
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Then I would say that's their problem, and a word to management would be in order. With today's economic problems, no restaurant that I know can afford to upset potential returning customers.
With today's economic problems, no restaurant that I know can afford to turn away other potential customers by not having available accomodations.
Two sides to every story.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:20 PM   #20
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With today's economic problems, no restaurant that I know can afford to turn away other potential customers by not having available accomodations.
Two sides to every story.
True, but social customs allow for tolerance when entering a crowded restaurant and either waiting or being turned away. Being rushed out from already being seated is just plain rude, and in some cases unforgivable - first come first served comes to mind.

And when in doubt, perhaps management should begin taking reservations.
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