Our restaurant allows patrons to book reservations online. Pretty simple–your type in your name, phone number, time, how many in the party.
An option also exists called “Notes to the Maitre’d.” This past week, interspersed with the “It’s my friend’s birthday” and “Need a booster seat” comments, were these notes:
* “This is a very important business luncheon with VIP customers, so please provide best table.”
Our restaurant is known for incredibly good value for great food. And it’s a drop-dead gorgeous place. So, don’t misunderstand when I say what I’m about to say: Important business lunch with bigwigs? Why not one of the expense-account places for this lunch? Or, are you a start-up and these are potential investors? Do you need the relaxed mood of our place to loosen these guys up? What type of business are you in? Did you know Mr. Restaurant Gal has a start-up, too? Wait, sorry. I have crossed the line. Important business lunch, VIPs in tow. Got it. We’ll do our best to insure you seal the deal over a meal.
* “I need a table located in an area where we can have a discussion with the group over lunch. I understand you have a room setup where this can take place. Would you please call to verify with me?”
Yes, we have a table that works very well for conversation, but it’s surrounded by other tables and booths that can seat up to 70 additional guests. I am not sure if this qualifies as the “room setup” you want us to verify. Are you saying you need a quiet, private table for six to hold this discussion? Sir, we are an extremely busy restaurant at lunch. Our dining areas are designed to feel intimate, but they are by no means private, nor do they exude a hush-hush ambiance. Perhaps you could hold the discussion in your board room and dine with us afterward. Just a thought.
* Reservation is booked in the 11 a.m. slot. “We want 12:30. But the computer wouldn’t let me book it.”
This type of note is very common, and it is a perfect bookend to the equally popular:
* Five-top slot booked. “We are a party of 10. The computer wouldn’t let me increase the number, though.”
See, when the computer gives you certain options for time slots or the number of people in your party, it means that’s what we have available. Ditto to the party of 10 that booked two 4-top slots and one deuce. Or, did you want separate tables?
* “I sat at a table before that I really liked. Can I sit there again?”
Well, maybe. I’ll need just a bit more information in order to help you out.
* Reservation for May 1. “My birthday is May 5.”
* “Near a window would be nice.”
We have lots of booths for the “A booth would be nice” comments, as well as an inordinate amount of windows for the window-wishers. Very possible–just show up on time, at the time you booked.
* “Nothing at this time.”