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Should a 930 reservation be a 930(ish) seating?

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Should a 930 reservation be a 930(ish) seating?

PerfectPalate | Apr 16, 2012 10:56 PM

Hi. I'm surprised how many postings I see from people who arrive on time (with all diners present) - but are kept waiting a long time past their actual reservation time - including at some very 'high end' restaurants. I know that popular restaurants like to do multiple seatings, and that some early(ier) diners can hold a table longer than expected. However, should a restaurant really keep diners waiting for up to an hour (or even more) past reservation time to accommodate early(ier) diners - especially when there is a fairly late reservation to follow, and that the later diners can end up eating well into the early 'am' and beyond? Yes, I know that a late reservation means late dining - and if it's a tasting menu etc then even later dining. However what is reasonable with regards to expecting to be seated at (or around) the time that you reserve for - and how delayed (in seating) is beyond reasonable? In my mind more than 20 minutes or so is unreasonable - an hour would be beyond a bad joke and should be accompanied by many good free cocktails (though one is then too... to enjoy the food).

Conversely, what is reasonable with regards to being giving a dining time limit (for an early reservation) - and if there is no limit given, then being asked to vacate a table? I must say that at a high end restaurant in Asia recently free desserts suddenly appeared straight after the main to 'express' us off the table - a very bad experience as we were given no indication re a time limit.

I'm keen to hear other views - perhaps I expect too much (as a customer:)

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