Dining Poll: Should Restaurants Call to Confirm Your Reservations?

From time to time, we hear from diners (mostly on Twitter) who aren’t that thrilled when restaurants call to confirm a restaurant reservation. While every restaurant sets its own policy about reservation confirmations, we’re curious how you feel. Weigh in on this hot topic today!

14 Responses to “Dining Poll: Should Restaurants Call to Confirm Your Reservations?”

  1. Melissa

    I do feel a little annoyed when a restaurant calls to confirm a reservation, but I do understand from their point the need to confirm a reservation that may have been made online. They want to make sure people are actually going to show up and not waste a table.

  2. Tom

    It annoys me a little, especially if I feel obligated to call them back. They could look at my “no show” record and see that my stats are less than 2% and even then, it’s because a few of the restaurants didn’t close the loop when I arrived.

  3. Brad

    There are just as many types of customers (and therefore potential answers to the poll) as there are restaurants with confirmation policies. For me, a restaurant should never request a call back. Doing so negates key advantages of Open Table. Those advantages go beyond the convenience of electronic reservations and extend to what I find most convenient – the fact that I am not limited to calling during the restaurant’s hours, operating days, etc. to make the reservation. Indeed, I am more likely to be making reservations in the late evening or early morning when I have extra time. To expect me to call back during their hours is unreasonable. A potential solution would be to ask the customer during the process of booking through Open Table which mode (if any) of confirmation is acceptable – call, call with required call back, text, etc. and any penalty for a no show. That performs a level set between parties and an opportunity for the customer to consider whether to proceed with the reservation.

  4. Jessica

    I understand why they do it if they are a busy place, but I had a reservation at a high end italian restaurant for my whole family. When they called to confirm I was oversea’s and never got the message so they canceled my reservation for that following day. My family and I then had to wait two hours for a table because we didn’t know till we go there that it was canceled. Good thing they had a good bar.

  5. Bob

    I appreciate the call — it serves as a reminder and gives me the opportunity to mention that my guest is vegetarian or we have a time restriction if we’re going to theater, etc. I find the personal contact helpful.

  6. Jane

    I don’t mind when they call, but I was infuriated by Coi, who took a credit card to guarantee the reservation, then called to confirm it and when I missed the call, they left me a voicemail saying that they had cancelled the reservation, which I received on my return from dining there.

    When I called the next day to say that I thought their bedside needed a little improvement, I was told that they have problems with people not showing up for reservations. I said, so charge their credit card, after all, you took the card info to guarantee the reservation. They said, no, people wouldn’t like that so they can’t do it. I said, so why do you take the card info in the first place, wasting my time like that? They said it was to make people think twice before being no-shows. I was like, so it’s too mean to charge someone’s card when they don’t show up, but it’s not too mean to leave stern voicemails demanding a call back, or to cancel a reservation and leave rude voicemails to someone who does in fact show up? I mean come on.

    They so completely lost my business with that attitude.

  7. Jim

    They dont call me when ther’re running late and will fail to keep their commitment to me so they shouldnt call me to confirm what I already committed to.

  8. David Derewicz

    I can see both sides of this issue. I think that this service, amenity, or inconvenience, depending on how you view it, has some rather important benefits. By calling to confirm, my favorite restaurants are simply trying to accomodate guests in the best possible way. This is also a second chance to review any special requests, needs or occasions that may not have been noted. Yes, I think that it allows the restaurants to fill seats, but without it, some restaurants could require credit card guarantees. Online reservations are very convenient, but they sometimes leave out the human factor that is so important in the hospitality field. If done graciously, this can be the extra touch that sets the tone for a better dining experience!

  9. Bonnie

    If I made a reservation, especially on-line through Open Table, then a restaurant should assume it’s being honored. I’ve been a member since 2004 and only missed 1 reservation because I was stuck in a business meeting and could not get out to call them. Plus, the policy, as I understand it, is that they will hold your reservation for up to 15 minutes, then give it away if you don’t show. I think that’s fair. I purposely leave my office phone number as a contact for weekend reservations because I don’t want to talk to them and don’t want to confirm. I do find it annoying. We’re grown-ups, aren’t we?

  10. Chief Big Talker

    I agree with Tom. I’d be happy to have Open Table keep and report on my no-show record. Which is essentially zero. So why should I be bothered to return their call, deal with their impersonal answering system, and wait on hold for the reservations person? Or run the risk of missing the call entirely? The point of making the reservation on line was to click and be done. So when I’ve clicked, I’d prefer to be done.

  11. Joyce

    I do not mind if they call as a courtesy to remind me of the reservation and to advise a callback if we need to cancel due to a change in plans. I feel that it negates the benefits of online reservations if they request a call back to confirm that you are still going as sometimes you may be out of town or on the road.

  12. Nelson

    I totally dislike the idea of a restaurant calling me requesting to honoring my booking, which by the way, has been made on line days before or even weeks before the booking. In fact, London restaurants are probably the only city in the world that has that policy. London restaurants are the only one that ask for booking when their restaurants tables are all available. I have been member of Open Table since 2006 and have never missed a booking, so it is obnoxious.

  13. Phil

    It frustrates me that restaurants do this. The whole point of open table is for convenience and to handle the reservation process electronically. A confirmation call defeats the purpose. At the very least they can send me an email confirmation but Open Table already sends a reminder.

  14. Caroline E.

    The confirmation process is one tool that helps elevate the level of customer service a restaurant can offer their guests. The intention is to remind the guest that their reservation is coming up, provide an opportunity for the guest to cancel, change or add any notes to the reservation, and to ensure the guest feels welcomed before they’ve even stepped foot inside the door. A secondary benefit is to help the restaurant maximize floor space, prepare for the shift accordingly, and help decrease the number of late arrivals and no-shows which can seriously affect customer service on the day-of. If a restaurant is using the confirmation process to threaten guests that they’re reservation is not guaranteed without verbal consent prior to arrival, well then they’re just doing it wrong.

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