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Why do I have to wait so long for a table even though I have a reservation?!?

Alexis Gutter

“You know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding.” Can we all agree that Jerry Seinfeld is a straight-up hero for speaking this truth? In this instance, Seinfeld’s admonishment is directed at a rental-car–company employee, but too many of us know the same reservation mishegas holds true in the restaurant industry.

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I’m sick of standing around a two-by-five-foot entry space with my starving friends 45 minutes after our set reservation time. Why does this keep happening?

I understand there’s more to rezzies than clicking a button on OpenTable, arriving within 10 minutes of the seating time and leaving an hour and a half later, full and happy. For example, there’s no predicting which two-top on a third date is going to order a second nightcap; and obviously, a waiter can’t ask the five-top that paid the bill a half hour ago to vacate the premises. After all, restaurants are like a spa for the stomach: Customers pay a price in exchange for the relaxing, enjoyable experience of being served and doing no work.

So meet me halfway, restaurants of New York! When I ask if something can be done, offer me appetizers and a stiff drink to take the edge off my hangry rage. Or at the very least, let me order my meal before I’m seated, because at this point, you better believe I don’t need a few minutes to look over the menu; I have that sucker memorized by now.

And just remember, dining establishments, we patrons have the last word, literally: Online reviews hath no fury like a hungry customer scorned.


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