Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Confirming a res at GR


Recommended Posts

A chum of ours who'd been given the so-called private number to GR made a reservation for a dinnner to celebrate his partner's birthday. (This was not a group booking, it was a table for 2.) All was going reasonably well until our friend was asked to sign and then fax an agreement that stated the table would be theirs from 7 to 9PM, and they'd promise to vacate the table at 9PM. (The time allotted, would not, I believe, allow enough time to have the tasting menu--at a reasonable pace, anyway.) Tired of the "book-exactly-one-month-in-advance-as-well-as sign-contract" rigmarole, chum thought to hell with this for a laugh and cancelled.

GR has lost a customer who'd have, without a doubt, returned to GR many times.

(I think Simon has posted before on a similar practice at one of MPW's places. Looks like this is cropping up more and more.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad your friend told GR where to put that contract. That is pathetic, and can't imagine such a policy will last long....

Maybe I just don't go to the right places - :smile: - but I've only ever been to one restaurant in London that tried to pull a 'we need our table back' on me, it was Bamboo (sp?) a pseudo-Vietnamese place on Charlotte Street.

I'm pretty sure they didn't say anything when I made the res, but when we were being seated, the maitre d' sheepishly muttered something about this. So I said 'Well since nobody told us, I can't promise anything but we'll do our best'. As it turns out, they didn't enforce it, nobody asked for the table back so I think there was probably a panic of some kind for too many bookings at a certain hour.

I have to say I'm shocked that GR@C, with the prices they charge and the kind of clients they seem to want, would do that. Maybe I'm naive, but I can't imagine they'd ask the likes of Madonna to sign a faxed contract ! and surely a restaurant like that can't survive on Madonnas alone..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Magnolia, Just to clarify it was GR on Royal Hospital Road. I know the dining room is on the small side there, but still....

As it happens, our said chum and partner are here in NY at the moment, and for a birthday bash we went to Jean Georges last night. It was terrific food-wise, and no contract needed. Amazingly simple--I just rang them up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WE have one restaurant here that has started doing the "I need the table back" routine. We've been frequent customers of this upscale (read not cheap) place for several years, but we've stopped going there because of this.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be fair, if I was in a job and someone offered me the chance to double my earnings working the same number of hours I doubt I'd turn it down.

From a business point of view the question is whether this would damage my business? Fortunately (or unfortunately from our perspective) there are people queuing up for reservations, so he can afford to run a "take it or leave it" policy.

So should we be blaming Mr Ramsay for taking the chance to double his profits or blaming the other people in the queue which mean he is able to get away with it?

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm appalled that any restaurant would expect you to sign a contract agreeing to occupy a table for only so long and no more. Hell, once it took my husband and me one full hour just to decide on our order! (This was in Washington DC in 1979 or so).

On the other hand, at least then you know where you stand (sit? grovel?) in the restaurant's scheme of things. ("Okay, head 'em up, move 'em out" for those of you who ever saw Rawhide.) I've heard that there are places here in NYC that simply -- rudely -- tell you that your time is up, without having given any warning beforehand that there IS a time limit.

Well, some people like to be abused. :hmmm:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So should we be blaming Mr Ramsay for taking the chance to double his profits  or blaming the other people in the queue which mean he is able to get away with it?

I am astonished that people put up with it. Why? At Hibiscus in Ludlow last month we had a wonderful evening that went on for nearly four hours. Going to a top restaurant is not only about the food on the plate. It is about feeling relaxed, cossetted, looked after. It's a whole evening's experience.

One can say who can blame Ramsey if people are queuing up to get in and that'd be right. But it's a shame he's is not more committed to providing a whole evening experience in the manner of all the traditional top class restaurants of the past, whose values he clearly rejects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think you're being a bit harsh.

GR @RHR is hard enough to get into with 2 sittings if it were only one then the chances of getting a table would be even worse, i'd rather have a time limited table than not at all, then at least i can try it and decide if i want to go back and be subject to the rules.

secondly the time limits are not always rigidly enforced, we book tables at the ivy and are always given a time limit, however they only ask you to move when they need the table back, often much later than the 'curfew'

Thirdly this whole contract thing may come about due to the casual attitude of many diners to restaurants ie they book several restaurants and decide at the last minute which ones to cancel, (if they even bother) as you know the fragile economics of a restaurant don't allow for too many empty tables so they want to be able to charge for no-shows, fair enough in my book. Also i can only imagine the reason GR needs a written confirmation of vacation time is that too many customers have refused to leave at their allotted time after being told verbally at the time of booking, thus causing the restaurant problems.

Often customers get the restaurants they deserve!

With regards to the tasting menu, there's no way they'd say you don't have time to eat it in two hours, it might be bit rushed but it was when i had it on an unlimited table! One thing i've learned if a place is really that popular then go for lunch, not dinner, chances are you'll get the relaxing enjoyable time you expect.

you don't win friends with salad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what would happen if you made a few choice edits to the contract? Would they even notice? Moreover, what about showing up with an injunction motion (effectively staying GR's right to enforce his contractual rights until a court hearing)?

The contract game is dangerous for non-lawyers to play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what would happen if you made a few choice edits to the contract?  Would they even notice?  Moreover, what about showing up with an injunction motion (effectively staying GR's right to enforce his contractual rights until a court hearing)?

The contract game is dangerous for non-lawyers to play.

I think I know what would happen if you did that. GR would come out of the kitchen (if he's actually in there) and throw you out himself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what would happen if you made a few choice edits to the contract?  Would they even notice?  Moreover, what about showing up with an injunction motion (effectively staying GR's right to enforce his contractual rights until a court hearing)?

The contract game is dangerous for non-lawyers to play.

I'm guessing you're American - you couldn't get an injunction in such circumstances in England. Here, it would be very unusual for a contract such as this to be litigated - there is virtually no prospect of getting punitive damages and therefore the amount of money involved doesn't make it worth your while.

You might in theory be able to argue that a two hour time limit is "unfair" for the purposes of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and therefore enforceable. However this would probably be a bit of a stretch.

Most likely the only recourse people have against this sort of thing is simply to avoid the place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I know what would happen if you did that.  GR would come out of the kitchen (if he's actually in there) and throw you out himself.

A claim for assault and battery!! This keeps getting better and better. Not only would I get a free meal, but a rather large cash settlement to boot.

Why hasn't a smart London lawyer given GR the business?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why hasn't a smart London lawyer given GR the business?

Because that smart London lawyer is billing his or her time out at 300 to 500 pounds/hour and the opportunity cost is too great to be fussing with this issue.

The Critical Diner

"If posts to eGullet became the yardstick of productivity, Tommy would be the ruler of the free world." -- Fat Guy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if anyone saw a small article in the Observer a couple of years ago entitled "My perfect night out" or something equally banal. The author wittered on about going to a restaurant with friends, having a great meal, good conversation and finishing with several coffees, all over the space several hours and without being rushed.

The author was one Gordon Ramsay (surely no relation ?)

Robin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if anyone saw a small article in the Observer a couple of years ago entitled "My perfect night out" or something equally banal ...

Damn good memory. To be precise, he says: 'I hate it when restaurants say you have to leave a table by a certain time. Dinner should be stretched out so you can enjoy the company for as long as possible.' The article is available from the Guardian's still-free archive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link, Kikujiro, to the article Robin remembered.

What a hoot:

"You should round off a good dinner with two or three leisurely coffees. I hate it when restaurants say you have to leave a table by a certain time. Dinner should be stretched out so you can enjoy the company for as long as possible." Gordon Ramsay, Sunday September 10, 2000, The Observer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...