Resturant Ettiquette.
January 18, 2020 10:53 AM   Subscribe

So, I usually overinvite for my birthday dinner, and I invited about 14 people for a 8 person resevation, thinking that like the last few years, a few people would cancel at the last minute.

I confirmed the reservation yesterday, and increased it to 10, which is as far as the place can stretch (tiny Toronto space.) It is snowing, so some people might not come--but it is looking increasingly likely that I will have 14 (or even 15) on a 10 reseveration. This is dinner, and not a drop in drinks thing. Too late to cancel, I can't disinvite people at the last minute, any tips for solving this.
posted by PinkMoose to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Email blast saying restaurant can only accommodate 10 but you have 14-if anyone is willing to take a rain (snow) check you’ll buy them a drink next week. Email should say it’s your mistake for not picking a more suitable restaurant! BCC everyone and make it clear in the email that you’re asking everyone.

If no one volunteers you cancel the whole thing rather than doing individual disinvites.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:01 AM on January 18, 2020 [7 favorites]


Also don’t say you expected people not to come. That will make people feel weird. Idk why I just know that it will
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2020 [4 favorites]


You may need to seat people at separate tables. Warn the restaurant that you may have overflow. The fact that it's snowing could help, as the restaurant may not be as busy.
posted by quince at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2020 [9 favorites]


Cancelling a 10 person reservation day-of on a Saturday night in a tiny restaurant will probably tank their entire profit margin for the week, otherwise I would suggest 'find another restaurant' that can accommodate.

Do you have some friends who will likely come early and and leave early and some who will come late? If the restaurant isn't expecting to turn the table, maybe you can try and shift things a bit so you have the table for a longer time but not everyone is there the whole time.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2020 [15 favorites]


Text everyone individually, in priority order, ask for a hard confirmation even with the weather, explain the restaurant situation. Hopefully that will get you down to 10, if not, ask for a rain check for last N.
posted by supercres at 11:23 AM on January 18, 2020 [5 favorites]


You have a tricky choice you either disappoint the restaurant by cancelling and booking somewhere else or you disappoint your friends by disinviting them or awkwardly asking them to disinvite themselves.
If you ask people to volunteer to miss out, you will probably find at least half of them will offer, and then you will have to re-invite people to make up the 10 - and which people do you choose? Thats a recipe for drama.
The restaurant will probably charge you a cancellation fee, but in this case I think it's the least bad option.
posted by Lanark at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2020


Is the cap on 10 people the most the restaurant can take for an individual reservation, or the most the restaurant can seat in total? If the former, call the restaurant, explain, apologize, and ask if they can break you into two smaller tables (or any other way they prefer it).
posted by sallybrown at 11:46 AM on January 18, 2020 [12 favorites]


Best answer: I’m in Toronto too. It’s snowing and the roads are gross. I’ve already bailed on two things today. Guaranteed a few people will bail last minute, both in your party and for most of the other reservations at the resto. Don’t do anything, just go and enjoy your bday! All over the city, there will be tons of cancellations and zero foot traffic. Restaurants will be 30% full AT MOST.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:48 AM on January 18, 2020 [28 favorites]


If you were one of my friends I would find this relatable (I have social anxiety. Calling 15 people when I want 10 to show up is such a classic social anxiety move that I’m 100% on your side. Please don’t ask me about the time I had 35 people in my apartment for dinner, which has 17 seats including the toilet and a single table.) and would skip for you, especially if we traded it for coffee the next day or a drink prior to dinner or dessert next week. Can you call a few invitees whom you are especially close to and explain? This would help you limit the “everyone volunteers to skip” impulse.
posted by holyrood at 12:01 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


First check with the restaurant to see if they can seat your entire party at two tables. I've been to many a multi table gathering; you'll just have to make a point of spending equal time at each table.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


I don't know what your conversation with the restaurant has been like, but consider just telling them that due to unforeseen circumstances you might have as many as 15 and then ask what if anything can be done. I tend to think that's better than surprising them with 50 percent more people.
posted by salvia at 1:46 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]


I would call them (the restaurant) and tell them your problem. They might say "we can handle it!" Or they might suggest another solution. You don't really know that this is a problem until you've talked to them.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:00 PM on January 18, 2020 [5 favorites]


Best answer: Also don’t say you expected people not to come

It's kind of an inexplicable Toronto thing to not show up for something that you RSVP to. It happens all the time
posted by scruss at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


I hope you will report back; I want to. Know how it turns out. Happy birthday!
posted by theora55 at 4:05 PM on January 18, 2020 [2 favorites]


if you get full attendance on a night when it's snowing, I will eat my hat.

if by some miracle you DO get all your people attending, there will for sure be additional tables available in the restaurant and they'll accommodate you.

happy birthday, enjoy!
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:30 PM on January 18, 2020


If you send out that email asking if some people want to take a raincheque, you highly risk the chance that everyone will volunteer because of the snowstorm.
posted by urbanlenny at 5:23 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]


Having struggled through rain and snow and brokeness to go to a birthday party, only to find out that I'm not even sitting at the same table as the birthday person, I can say that it is way way ruder than having the option to decline. Part of being a good host is prioritizing the comfort of your guests, JMO, IMO.

It's kind of an inexplicable Toronto thing to not show up for something that you RSVP to. It happens all the time

The same thing happens in NYC, but you're still not allowed to assume that someone won't show even though they RSVPd. IDK why, it is pretty illogical.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


oh, I'm assuming we're talking about pushing table together to make one long one. By all means make sure everyone's sitting together.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:16 PM on January 18, 2020


Response by poster: 12 people came, 12 people were seated.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:17 PM on January 18, 2020 [58 favorites]


Yay, PinkMoose, you have good friends who care enough to be there in the midst of a snowstorm! Happy Birthday to you.
posted by mightshould at 3:39 AM on January 19, 2020 [2 favorites]


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