I've noticed a trend over the past year or so where it is increasingly hard to make restaurant reservations on the phone in the Boston area.
I eat out in other cities, and have no such problem. In Boston, it's more and more common that I call a restaurant at night to make a future reservation, and I get a phone recording explaining why it's impossible for them to answer the phone, and asking me to leave my request, and they may call me back sometime in the future to let me know if I got the reservation.
Given that almost every restaurant has a host/hostess, it makes no sense to me that this person can't take dinner reservations. Just put me on hold for a few minutes, I don't mind. I'd rather hold for 10 minutes and know I got the reservation, than leave a message, and wonder if I'll ever hear back.
And again, this seems to be a "Boston only" trend. I've almost never had this happen in other cities.
I know some people tout "Open Table", but literally every time that Open Table has said that a date/time was unavailable, I've called the restaurant directly and gotten a table at that exact same date/time. So Open Table is not reliable at all, in my opinion.
Anyway, just my own personal rant here. I would figure that in these depressing economic times, restaurants would be making it easier, not harder, for me to make reservations.