Book and don’t turn up: Where is your restaurant etiquette?

  • Aditi Caroli, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 04, 2016 15:59 IST
A lot of Delhi restaurants were in a fix during New Year’s Eve, when diners didn’t show up after making reservations. (Shutterstock)

Delhi is known to be a city of gourmands, but do we practise restaurant etiquette, especially when it comes to reservation policies? A lot of city restaurants were in a fix during New Year’s Eve, when diners didn’t show up after making reservations.

Chef Ritu Dalmia stirred up a valid debate with her recent Facebook update.

“I really do not understand why people make reservations and not show up or even bother to cancel. Specially on days like New Year’s Eve. You ask them for credit card details and they behave as if I want to rob their bank account. Do we behave like this only in India?” she posted.

Read: Technology is changing the way we eat out

“At my restaurant in GK 2, when guests didn’t turn up we called them up 30 minutes after reservation time, and they were like ‘Oh, we aren’t coming.’ At many places in the city, 50% of the guests didn’t turn up,” she says.

“I know for a fact that the no-show attitude puts a restaurant’s business in jeopardy. To avoid this, around New Year’s we had pay 50% in advance policy at our restaurant. Many restaurants have now stopped taking reservations and invite walk-ins,” says chef Durgesh Tyagi.

Restaurateur Priyank Sukhija says it reflects badly on the place, when they make people without reservations wait while tables are empty inside. “It doesn’t look nice to make people waiting and they question us when they see an empty table,” he says.

Read: Boycott restaurants that don’t respect you

Chef Manu Chandra says waiting up for 15 minutes post reservation time is okay. “If the guests do not turn up 15 minutes beyond their reserved time slot, we usually call in to check if they are running late, as we do try to accommodate in case of personal emergencies or traffic issues. If guests are not coming, then we release the table for other guests.”

However, chef Chandra points out. “Many guests have now started cancelling tables in case personal emergencies crop up,” he says. Food apps on smart phones also have a role to play. “It’s easy to call up a restaurant now and cancel reservation. Thanks to smartphone apps, you just click on a button and make a call to cancel reservations,” says Sukhija.

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