Is It Fair That Parties of Five or More Get the Reservations?

April 16 2009, 2:37 PM

reservedMy family has organized a family brunch for Sunday. Well, not just any family brunch. There will be no last-minute scrambled eggs or microwave sessions to defrost frozen bacon. No, this Sunday is a birthday celebration, a send-off, and a congratulatory breakfast, and for those reasons, we are going out. But we're still debating where. Given the nature of our brunch, my dad will certainly want to wear slacks, as he calls them, and my mother her nice shoes, so waiting for a table will be out of the question. Who wants to elbow through Snooze's mobbed entryway or DJ's Berkeley Cafe line while wearing just-ironed clothes? We might consider a more formal, or at least a more dressy, option. Say, The Kitchen in Boulder, or Duo, but these restaurants only take reservations for parties of five, six, or more. This weekend we're only four, and again, waiting, even if our clothes won't be creased, doesn't seem appropriate for our celebratory brunch. So we're at a loss, and one that I'm finding mildly frustrating.

I understand a restaurant's hesitation to take reservations for small parties. Saving a table for a party of two or three during a seating rush not only makes a restaurant's flow more complicated, it could cost the business revenue. If a party doesn't show up, or it shows up late, then the restaurant has lost out on seating another set of diners at that table. But under certain circumstances, I think these rules should be bent. In the case of a birthday, an anniversary, or an important meeting, it's generous of a restaurant to make an exception to its policies. After all, this important occasion isn't an appointment a diner is likely to stand up. Plus, when a restaurant makes the extra effort to be accommodating, a diner is more likely to feel a sense of gratitude toward the restaurant--and speak highly of it. I've tried this reasoning with The Kitchen and Duo, and the two won't budge. So it looks like we're out a reservation for Sunday, which I think wholly unfair. Do you agree?

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