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Not About Food 5

Restaurant Seating Policies In SD

foodiechick | Feb 13, 201110:41 AM

I read this opinion with some curiosity last week:

We had two wildly different seating experiences this past week and it brought the article back to my mind. By in large, I don't think there are that many problems getting into most restaurants in San Diego, the economy has still kept things fairly slow so reservations are honored in a timely fashion and walk-ins even enjoy a fairly easy entry. On Thursday night we had a 7pm reservation at a wildly popular Hillcrest/Bankers Hill spot. When we got there 5 minutes before our rsvp time we were reminded that we were early and would be seated at 730. We tried to get a drink at the bar but gave up because of the throngs of people as happy hour was winding down. Long wait, not seated until 740. Throughout dinner we noticed several three and four-tops who had finished their meals before we got there, were languishing in conversation at their cleared spots until after we had eaten and paid our bill an hour and a half later. I am all for a relaxed, convivial dining experience, but is it good business for the restaurant to keep people waiting 40 minutes for a resv. because tables won't clear. Having this happened here before and knowing that this place was always packed, we asked the manager about their policy and were told that they only ask "large" parties to turn their table. What do you think...should packed "it" restaurants tweak their rules so that reservations are easier to honor?

On the other end of the spectrum, we arrived around 130pm for a late lunch at a new Del Mar spot. The hostess asked us if we had a reservation and after telling her no, she said it would be about a 5 minute wait. It dragged on for 20 minutes. The dining area was only 1/3 full, with empty, bussed tables everywhere. I thought maybe they were understaffed and wanted a party or two to leave first so there would be a proper ratio of servers to guests. But this was not the case, they just simply made us wait because we did not have a reservation. Normally, I would have left, but I was anxious to try this place.

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