I figure that I would relay a recent experience that I had at Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca (in Houston for those not familiar). Before my recent dinner there, I was a huge fan and I still think that their pizza's are some of the best in Texas. It is a shame that my recent dealings with the hostess and manager were so atrocious that I will probably never return.
On my last visit, I thought I was fortunate to snag a reservation for our group of 6 (their policy is that they take reservations for parties of 6 or more). We get there 2, maybe 3 minutes, at the most, late (and I promise I am not exaggerating for effect here). I was told by the hostess that since we were late that they had given our table away. When I stared at my watch and then back at her, she shrugged her shoulders and explained that if the party isn't available when the table is ready the table is given away. This policy, mind you, was not conveyed to us when we made the reservation. Instead of thinking on our feet and asking to be shown where and to whom this make believe table was given was away in the past 90 seconds, we all threw a collective fit and asked to speak to the manager. The manager, who was more suited by his age/dress/demeanor to be a busboy, again conveyed to us the restaurant's ridiculous reservation policy. We were eventually sat within 20 minutes (probably because of the stink that we all raised) and ended up having a decent meal in the end.
I want to hear from others to see if they have had similar experiences at this restaurant or others. I understand that reservations don't mean that the customer has ownership over a table for the night, but my feeling is that restaurants should honor a reservation as long as a customer shows up within 15 minutes of the reservation time. Even if that is too long, certainly showing up within 5 minutes (or 2 as we did) should be sufficient. I also understand that my table may not be "ready" at the time of my reservation and that I may need to wait for a period of time (say 15-20 minutes) before being seated. If that was the explanation given by the hostess (that our table wasn't ready quite yet), then I think we would have all been accepting of the wait. However, she took it upon herself to assign blame on us for being late and that is where she, IMO, crossed the line.
Sorry for the wordiness of this post, but after that experience, I had to share my frustration.