Places like Melisse, Providence, Patina, etc. have a unique position in a city like Los Angeles which is largely known for it's casual cooking. They provide a unique and special experience. And in these recessionary times - are likely to see their sales slack because they charge higher prices than those casual places. The prices are high, yes, but there is an awful lot of expense, a lot of preparation, and legwork to run such a restaurant. Ask someone in that side of the business who knows - they'll tell you. You might think these places are making money hand over fist - and unless they're packed every night - they aren't.
Unfortunately some diners think that since they're spending big money, they can act like Caligula. I've heard stories.
I know some diners will make multiple reservations for one evening, and then cancel hours before (if they cancel at all) and then go the place their group has voted on. It's nice to have a choice, I understand that but....when you have a party of six or more - the restaurant plans ahead for this by hiring extra people to serve that table. And when you cancel last minute - they not only lose the profits from the meal they don't serve, but they have to pay for that service.
So to those Chowhounders, the good ones who would never think of doing such a thing, kudos for being stand-up gourmands.
But to you others - this is a heads up to notify you that you could be hurting the ones (the restaurants) you love. We want to keep this places in business.
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