You want to know why some restaurants charge a fee to cancel a reservation? Because of jerks like this, who makes reservations at up to 10 restaurants at a time so that he can choose which one he wants on that special night. Don’t be this guy. [Des Moines Register] (Thanks to David!)
(Photo: wili hybrid)


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  1. kenblakely says:

    I’m trying to remember the last time I had to leave credit card information to make a reservation at a restaurant. Now I have it: NEVER.

    Nor would I. I wouldn’t eat at a place that required that. It’s not like there’s a shortage of restaurants.

    Oh, iand if I make a reservation for 7PM and don’t claim it by 710PM, it goes away and someone else gets the space. It’s not as if the table sits empty.

    Consumerist is getting so lame nowadays….

    • catskyfire says:

      @kenblakely: Well, some places may choose to require a credit card to hold a table…especially on Valentine’s day. I could also see it if it was a more expensive restaurant.

      As for reservations: It depends on the rules. Some restaurants can give up a table after 10 minutes. Some can’t. From what I’ve read, in some areas, it’s not uncommon for people to knowingly be thirty minutes late, and it’s considered acceptable.

      But, hey, if you can come up with better posts, let us know, k?

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @kenblakely: But what about the Dufrains!? Baker – search party of 5!

    • rpm773 says:

      @kenblakely: I’m trying to remember the last time I had to leave credit card information to make a reservation at a restaurant. Now I have it: NEVER.

      Dude, we keep telling you that you really don’t even need to make a reservation at that KFC Buffet you like. Just show up.

    • ngoandy says:

      @kenblakely: I’ve never had to leave a credit card number for a restaurant reservation either.

      I’ve been using for my reservations. I love it. Very simple.

      Maybe this credit card thing is for high end restaurants in DC/NY/LA?

      • ARP says:

        @ngoandy: Chicago too. It’s common for Valentine’s day, large groups of people, high end restaurants, or places that “normally” don’t take reservations. I’m not thrilled about it, but I can appreciate why and I’ve given card information. I was late once, but they were very understanding.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @ngoandy: Rarely. I have never had to place my card with any NYC resturaunt I have been to nor to any of the high end AC rasturaunts I have hit at some of the casinos. I would not be surprised there are some but they have to much to expensive for me then.

        And I dont care how high end the restaurant is, there is no way I would ever leave my CC number with them. I just would not go even if I had the money.

        I know very well the type of people some of my friends who work at high end hundred dollar item restaurants are. The difference between McD’s worker and them is simply they where in the right place at the right time…

    • Coles_Law says:

      @kenblakely: True, but they’re turning people away who could be at that table starting at 6:15 or so, so they’re not still there at 7.

  2. NightSteel says:

    Not so he can choose. So his *date* can choose.

    Hopefully, one of these times, his date will be someone who has worked in a restaurant or will otherwise realize how douchey it is to do something like this, and will therefore choose to let him go stag that evening.

    • nybiker says:

      @NightSteel: Right you are. And he can ask his date 36 hours ahead of time and then cancel the other 9 reservations.
      In general, for a regular reservation, I won’t give any credit card info for the reservation. If I read the story right, this guy did this for Valentines day. Any other day of the year and I would just call to make a reservation; if they wanted c/c info, then I’d move on to another joint.

    • oneliketadow says:

      @NightSteel: Douches attract douches.

    • theblackdog says:

      @NightSteel: Probably not, she’s too busy being blinded by the dollar signs in her eyes because “OMG he’s taking me somewhere really nice!”

  3. DMXParsons says:

    The douchey part of the story is not that he made 10 reservations, but that he didn’t cancel them.

    I’ll admit to making reservations at three different places for Valentine’s Day. I waited too long and pickings were slim, so I had to grab what I could and then weigh sushi vs. Italian, a 5:45 at a B+ restaurant vs. an 8:15 at an A-, etc.

    Two of the restaurants took a CC# for a deposit that was refundable if I canceled with at least 48 hours notice, which I did. Fair play all around.

    • CFinWV says:

      @DMXParsons: Isn’t that what this says? “Because of jerks like this, who makes reservations at up to 10 restaurants at a time so that he can choose which one he wants on that special night. Don’t be this guy.” He wasn’t talking about just making reservations.

  4. ResponsibilityXX says:

    Should it work the other way too? When I show up at a restaurant for my 7:00pm reservation and they don’t seat me until 7:45pm (after repeated “we’re preparing your table right now”‘s) is it OK for me to bail and bill them for my time, lost income and general annoyance?

    Make the process reciprocal and I’ll happily put down a credit card for a reservation…

  5. RbblRbblChzbrgr_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Hopefully he didn’t take the reservation at Dorsia for a certain P. Bateman.

  6. CyrusOpeth says:

    Hmmmmm. As if the restaurants (a) never overbook, and (b) never sell that table during that time if the person doesn’t show up. I call shenanigans. I don’t believe for one moment that it “costs restaurants and servers” any money or that anyone loses when a reservation doesn’t show up. Should patrons likewise get signed contracts for what the restaurant has to do, or pay, when the patron shows up and his reservation isn’t honored in a timely or proper manner? Or would the restaurants whine about how “no one could possibly manage it that well, he should have just waited half an hour, it’s no big deal, waaaah”? You know, people, stuff happens. Some people behave this way. Some restaurants behave this way. It’s called LIFE. Deal with it, and quit whining like it’s the end of the freaking world. Sheesh.

    • Anonymous says:

      @CyrusOpeth: If you only go to corporate-owned chains, then maybe, yes. If you think that Red Lobster or Olive Garden are special, than good for you.

      If you actually want a special meal and want to go to a 4 or 5 diamond restaurant, then yes, you are costing several people money. Any restaurant that has earned a 4 or 5 diamond rating will only book as many tables as they have, and will schedule the appropriate amount of staff.

      If you cancel your reservation at the last minute, there are several staff (servers, DRAs, bartender, host, owner) who will directly suffer from having an empty table that evening during dinner service.

      Most high end establishments do not receive or often, accept, “walk-in” trade. Staff is booked by reservations. Food is ordered and prepared only according to reservations.

      Douches like this asshat cost many people money, and forces establishments to require a CC-deposit for a reservation.

  7. exkon says:

    What does that “Des Moines” link go to? I don’t see the story…

    But never made a reservation at a restaurant that had to take my CC#. But to make it at 10 different places at not cancel, that’s kinda a dick move.

  8. Ken Clunk says:

    This story is lame. All restaurants double book anyways. On Valentines day a reservation of 9:15 didn’t get us a table until 10 at The Melting Pot.

    • cordeliapotter says:

      @Ken Clunk: That’s nothing, a Thanksgiving reservation for 5:30pm at Old Anglers (an old swanky place just outside of DC) didn’t seat us until 8:30pm, and the manager was outrageously rude to us. If I had been in charge, we’d have left at 6:15 and hit up a fast food joint.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @Ken Clunk: All restuarants don’t double book. Maybe just the few you’ve been to? I’ve only once had a reservation go sour on me. So if all of the rest were double booked, was I just the lucky first person at the table?

    • CrowMignon says:

      @Ken Clunk: In my experience that occurs when a party takes longer to leave than anticipated. Forty-five minutes isn’t enough time for a full meal start to finish, so I would assume that is what happened in your case, too.

  9. ExGC says:

    Seems pretty simple. Make multiple reservations and don’t cancel them within a reasonable window – you’re a selfish jerk. That might bother you, it might not, but be honest with yourself.

    These are businesses – most of them family businesses. They reserved a table for you. If they don’t resell it, they lose. It’s about common courtesy. Some of them overbook and some of them don’t. The ones who do – they’re jerks too. Don’t patronize them.

  10. bohemian says:

    All restaurants do not over book or double book. What that guy did was a total dick move. Some smaller restaurants that do reservation only will end up losing that money unless someone happens to walk in off the street.

  11. josephbloseph says:

    My security software won’t let me go to anything on a tinyurl link, and I agree with the software.

    • cmhbob says:

      @josephbloseph: Go to [] There you can set a cookie that sets up a preview of the site you’re going to. Tinyurl use in and of itself doesn’t suggest bad sites. It’s very useful when the link is 200+ characters, and you’re trying to email it, or something like that.

  12. Corporate-Shill says:


    Nah, it is called customers stilling for an hour after their meal drinking their coffees.

    Yea, yea, it is the right of the customer to do whatever they want. Except I am the sonofagun standing around waiting for the table to be vacated so I too can partake in a meal.

  13. humphrmi says:

    If a restaurant is popular or good enough to require reservations, a couple of abandoned reservations will get absorbed by standbys.

    If an abandoned reservation causes a restaurant that much trouble, they ought to rethink their reservation requirement.

  14. props_nyc says:

    i’m guessing that a lot of the people shocked that you need reservations or that you might have to put down a CC aren’t in new york.

    this is fairly standard practice, esp. when valentine’s day falls on a saturday… shudder.

    the guy in this link is a douche. i also waited to long to find something, and i have a feeling there was a lot of this going on.

  15. Brazell says:

    I wouldn’t mind leaving a credit card number at a certain high-end restaurant if it gauranteed me a table at the time that I want… For a night like Valentine’s, esp. on a Saturday as it was this year, I don’t have a problem with that. As long as it’s an exclusive and reputable joint.

    Now, a place like … Chili’s … well I barely trust them with my credit card when I pay, let alone any other time.

    And like a few comments say — if you think you’re shocked about needing reservations to eat at a place, you’ve never been to a big city. The restaurants don’t do this to try to comp money they may have missed, they do this to prevent people from making reservations with no intention of going.

  16. Judge_Smails says:

    Cartwright! Cartwright! Cartwright!

  17. thisisasignin says:

    This is why you can never reserve anything here. Nobody wants to lose money.

  18. Philthadelphian says:

    Is there anyone who could provide a working link to this story? All I get is some dopey blogger profile. I even tried visiting the Register’s web site and couldn’t find any article that resembled this.

  19. TheGuinnessTooth says:

    This is a great idea. I think I’ll do something like this next time I give a damn about Valentines day. I, of course, will have the courtesy to cancel any reservations I don’t use.

  20. Needy's Body says:

    I could see two or three reservations, especially if it’s a new partner since you might want to give them a few choices, or if you are unsure of your schedule, but 10 reservations and not cancelling any of them? Jackass.

  21. adamwade says:

    This happens a LOT at Disney World. It may seem odd to many, but the sit-down dining establishments (anything but counter service fast food) can be awfully tough to get into, especially in the theme parks themselves.

    People make reservations up to six months in advance; in fact, for some restaurants if you don’t get up at 7AM EST to pound your phone calling to get the ressies exactly six months in advance (to the day) you have little chance of securing one.

    Anyway, multi-booking has become quite a problem there because of this (deciding what theme park eatery you are going to eat in six months in advance is a lot to ask), so they have started taking credit card numbers for the most in-demand places, and if you double-book you can get everything cancelled on you.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just played by the rules…LOL, yeah right!