Tuesday, December 6, 2011

how to make a reservation: timing

I have to ask, do you consider your timing when you call for reservations?

Prior to my adventures working in restaurants, this would never have crossed my mind.  You think, "gee, I forgot to book a table for date night next weekend, I should call now".  And you do.

Simple enough, right?  And for the most part it is that simple.

However, if you've ever watched a restaurant manager dash for the phone mid-service, servers and runners darting out of the way, while he/she desperately tries to catch the call before it stops ringing you'd understand my concern.

You see, restaurants have service times, and they have down time in between.  Those in between times are the best time to call for reservations as you will encounter a much more focussed individual on the other end of the line.  I'm always curious when the phone rings off the hook between 5 and 6pm, but I guess knowing better is something that I take for granted (like so many other things relevant to only restaurant workers).

If you are interested in adjusting your reservation habits, read on:

Lunch in most restaurants (particularly in our theatre world) runs between 11-2, dinner 5-8.  These are times when the person recording your reservation request is somewhat distracted, which can result in bookings taken on the wrong days, at the wrong times and under impossibly ridiculous names.  During these peak hours you may find that the individual receiving your call seems like they just want to get it over with and get off the phone, they probably do.

You might think, why should I care?  The restaurant staff are there to serve me, why should I have to consider their timing?  Well, you don't have to, but remember this the next time you see your server on the phone while your dirty plates sit in front of you: they just might be dealing with a special needs reservation.


  1. Problem is with object permanence. We just can't believe you exist because we can't see, feel or touch you. Hold the phone out facing the most sound reflective wall and say...Can you hear that? Please call back between 2 and 5. Thank-you!
    This also explains why we like taller thinner wine glasses :) Every inch higher brings us closer to sweet Jesus!

  2. Yes, because Restaurant employees are the only ones with a schedule...
    We're all busy, Chew.
    We do what we can, when we can.
    How 'bout being grateful for the fact that the restaurant is popular enough that anyone wants to make reservations at all?

  3. Dear JC: Where do you work, and what is your busiest time because I will call you then while: your boss is demanding his latest numbers, your biggest client is on the phone asking where his parts are, your office assistant is asking you how you would like to deal with the angry and bitter person waiting in the lounge and also there's a call on line one from your mother in law.