Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Michael Pollan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma Tenth Anniversary Edition | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

bizarrely rigid seating policy at homeroom?

Share:

Restaurants & Bars 52

bizarrely rigid seating policy at homeroom?

indigirl | Nov 16, 2012 11:54 AM

Just wondering if anyone else has had this experience at homeroom:

I have had 3 or 4 small meetings there in the past several months. Usually 4 people, around 3pm on a weekday when the place is all but empty.

I had actually called homeroom before our first meeting, asking if it would be appropriate to have a mid-afternoon meeting there with minimal ordering (some food, mostly drinks). They said yes as long as we don't linger into their dinner rush.

Of course with 4 people coming from 4 different places we don't all arrive at once. Before yesterday, the first person or 2 to arrive would be told in an apologetic tone, sorry you can't have a booth until you have more than 2 people. Or: I would let you take a booth but my boss is here; you can move when all your people have arrived. Something along those lines. We thought it persnickety & odd to act like they had a full restaurant when it was only 10% full, but oh well.

Yesterday 3 of us did arrive pretty much at once, & so sat at one of three empty booths. (There were probably 6 customers in the whole place.) Waiter brought 3 menus & 3 glasses of water. We said, we have another person coming. He flinched visibly & said he would have to check & see if it was ok for us to be seated. He left & another server came over & proceeded to drill us aggressively: when is your 4th person coming? will she be here in 5 minutes? 10 minutes?!

Umm... we don't know, she hasn't called or anything, we were expecting her at 3... ?!

We were lectured sternly about how they have a strict policy of not seating incomplete parties, because their second rush was going to start "soon". We were like, um, you have 2 other empty booths right now?

They didn't make us get up, & our 4th arrived shortly, but we were like, wow, this is almost hostile! We kept an eye on the traffic into the restaurant & eventually left at around 5pm when the other 2 booths had filled. There were still plenty of empty tables by that time; the place was about half full.

I thought maybe the boss/manager had recently screamed at waitstaff for seating incomplete parties. They seemed really tense about the whole thing.

We obviously won't be back, but I'm wondering what y'all make of this. Have you run into weirdness like this there? Is the boss/manager a jerk? Did we catch them on a bad day? What gives?! Am I overreacting?

& more importantly: where else can we go have our meeting? We need free parking & a reasonably quiet, welcoming(!) space.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Feedback