The other nite (review posted on SF board) we (a couple) and another group of 4 arrived for a reservation but were kept waiting for a half hour while a large group lingered at their table (small restaurant). They'd obviously been done for a long time (nothing on the table but water glasses) but it was a birthday party and even as we were waiting a few pple arrived to join the group. I understand this is a difficult situation --- as the waitress said to us after we'd been seated, "we can't ask them to leave, bec. one of them will post a nasty review on the web." And I know that a restaurant doesn't want to alienate potential repeat customers. But how often do big groups really pay attention to the food (one of the group, when asked by a latecomer as he was leaving how the food was, replied "I don't know, just OK I guess"). The waitress also told us that the group's original reservation was for 5, but that during the course of the meal 6 more had arrived and so nearby tables had been commandeered and pushed together with the original one. Would it be so unreasonable, as additional unexpected guests arrived, to mention that other patrons have reserved the few remaining tables/chairs?
I don't know what my opinion is on this -- I was more pissed off bec the situation (our waiting) was not handled well by the proprietor than I was at having to wait 1/2 hour (hey, it happens). But I was curious of others' opinions on this matter -- hopefully a restaurant owner/worker or two might weigh in.