Restaurants: reservations vs. walk ins
March 12, 2013 5:46 AM Subscribe
Are you, or have you been, a host/ess at a restaurant? If so, can you tell me what was going on with the reservations vs. walk ins at a restaurant we went to over the weekend? Just out of curiosity.
posted by librarianamy to society & culture (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On Saturday, after having attended a theater matinee, we decided to join friends for dinner at a convenient, fairly popular sit down chain dining establishment. We've all eaten there before, and usually lean on having reservations, especiall on a Saturday at 5:00 pm. However, since we didn't know when the play would end, we decided to chance it without resevations.
The first member of our (four person) party approached the hostess and was told an hour wait. We had already paid to park our cars, so decided to wait it out. As we sat there, I remembered seeing the OpenTable sticker on the door when we walked in, so checked out the app on my phone. I was able to sign up for a 5:30 reservation. I went up to the hostess and canceled our friend's name on the list, and we were seated immediately.
When we were leaving, as we put our coats on in the lobby, we heard one hostess tell a walk in that the wait was then close to two hours (at 7 pm). Just because I'm nosy, I checked the OpenTable app quickly, and sure enough, there were tables available for 7:30.
So I'm just curious - how does the reservation vs. walk in system work at a standard restaurant? Are establishments that use OpenTable required to leave a certain number of tables open for their users? Or is it something else, like that particular place really wants to discourage walk ins? I've never worked at a restaurant, so I'd really love to learn more. (I've googled, and while I've read some on the OpenTable business model, nothing to the first hand explainations I'd like to hear.) Thank you very much!