I went to Chennai Garden today for lunch (a delicious South Indian buffet at 27th bet 3rd and Lex in Manhattan). Granted I went during the lunch rush (around 1 pm) and the place was busy (and is on the small side). Initially I was asked if I would sit at a small table with another diner- I politely asked if I could wait for my own table. Later on, when I had my own table and was finished, I was waiting for the check when another diner with their plate plopped in the opposite chair with the maitre d almost barking that I have to pay up front (I didn't know that).
1. Clearly the restaurant was busy. However, does that give the restaurant the right to rush their diners? (Even with paying up front, usually, even in busy establishments I have been given at least a few minutes of leeway between finishing and getting up- my plate had literally been whisked away the second before I was told to leave.)
2. If you are a single diner sitting at a small table for 2, does the restaurant have the right to sit someone else at the same table? While this was not forced upon me, as they had asked me to sit at someone else's table initially, clearly they do have a policy to sit strangers together. If you're the one already sitting and eating and the 2nd diner is willing to sit at your table, do you have the right to refuse? It's not that I object to sitting with strangers- actually when travelling I do it frequently as it's a great way to explore a new country and get a feel for the culture. However, many times when I'm dining alone in the city I want to be- alone. If that is the case, should I only frequent more expensive, less crowded places or is one entitled to a solo table? If so, how can you let the restaurant know that without coming off as rude? (i.e. if they try to sit someone else at your table)
I'm curious to what you'll say!