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.

Sign in to follow this  
Fat Guy

Reservations and Regulars at Momos and

Recommended Posts

And of course ue is right.  Ko is a separate restaurant from Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar.  I eat a lot at Esca, and get treated very well there -- but I don't expect it to translate into tables at Babbo.

So why are Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar regulars invited to previews at Ko? There's obviously a connection.

Obviously, there is.

But you're talking about ENTITLEMENT.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We don't "expect" it.

We appreciate it.

I love how "expect" is being treated as a dirty word. You're damn right I expect a lot when I go out to a restaurant. When you go to a restaurant you're not a guest in someone's home. You're a paying customer. And if you pay over and over and over again, you should get more than someone who pays once. You should expect more. If you don't, you're expecting a lot less than you deserve.

Indeed, that system -- which is essentially a frequent flier program -- is just as "egalitarian" as any other system, because everybody with the means to participate in the system has an equal opportunity to do so. It's just that credits need to be earned. That's totally appropriate.

Now let's see if Ko really treats everybody the same.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And of course ue is right.  Ko is a separate restaurant from Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar.  I eat a lot at Esca, and get treated very well there -- but I don't expect it to translate into tables at Babbo.

So why are Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar regulars invited to previews at Ko? There's obviously a connection.

Obviously, there is.

But you're talking about ENTITLEMENT.

Eek! Entitlement! How awful!

Of course we're talking about entitlement. I pay therefore I'm entitled. The only question is what I'm entitled to. I think it's more than just the food on the plate.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eek! Entitlement! How awful!

Of course we're talking about entitlement. I pay therefore I'm entitled. The only question is what I'm entitled to. I think it's more than just the food on the plate.

Even if the restaurant and owner said that there would not be any preferential treatment (for obtaining reservations, anyway)? Would you still feel entitled?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right. It's like, they're publically adopting a "no entitlement" policy, and you're saying that people are so selfish that they won't allow it to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eek! Entitlement! How awful!

Of course we're talking about entitlement. I pay therefore I'm entitled. The only question is what I'm entitled to. I think it's more than just the food on the plate.

Even if the restaurant and owner said that there would not be any preferential treatment (for obtaining reservations, anyway)? Would you still feel entitled?

I would certainly be annoyed. For example, I have some good friends from out of town who come in a few times a year. Because of the nature of their business, these trips are always last minute. These are some of the most beloved people in my personal universe, and when they come to town we always go out to dinner together and I want to be able to show them a good time. So when they say they're coming in two days, I get on the phone and reach out to a restaurant where I've established some seniority and I get us a table at that restaurant. I would be annoyed if a restaurant I thought was great, with which I'd spent years developing a relationship, couldn't squeeze me in. Ever.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And they're not even adopting a policy of "no entitlement." They're adopting a policy of "no entitlement when it comes to getting in." Which is arguably the only reasonable way of allocating seats at an in-demand restaurant that only serves 144 covers a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kitchens at both restaurants are way too busy to be expected to entertain someone's sense of entitlement to something more than what they ordered. I'm in agreement with others who have said that they appreciate any nice gesture of an extra dish, but it really is NOT expected. I have just as much appreciation that they know my name and say hello and for me that is the most important benefit of being a regular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right.  It's like, they're publically adopting a "no entitlement" policy, and you're saying that people are so selfish that they won't allow it to work.

I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

Every restaurant that survives eventually attracts significant support from regulars. And restaurants generally offer perks to give regulars the incentive to stay that way. I think Steven is simply expressing skepticism that Ko can be successful without doing this.

On one level, he is right. Successful restaurants do the things he says they do. But Steven has often said that Momofuku Ssam Bar "shattered" the traditional restaurant paradigm. So it's a little inconsistent to praise them for shattering something, while at the same time complaining that they shattered too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For example, I have some good friends from out of town who come in a few times a year. Because of the nature of their business, these trips are always last minute. These are some of the most beloved people in my personal universe, and when they come to town we always go out to dinner together and I want to be able to show them a good time. So when they say they're coming in two days, I get on the phone and reach out to a restaurant where I've established some seniority and I get us a table at that restaurant. I would be annoyed if a restaurant I thought was great, with which I'd spent years developing a relationship, couldn't squeeze me in. Ever.

So you think a restaurant that only does 24 covers a night should hold 4 of them back just in case one of their regulars has friends unexpectedly showing up from out of town? That sort of thing simply isn't feasible in a 12 seat restaurant, no matter if they give regulars first dibs on reservations or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not if they also want to avoid paying a receptionist. At the very least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All this stuff can be automated. You set your regulars' accounts to a different access level that shows them reservations others can't see. At a certain time, like noon the day of, those reservations go into the public pool. You can announce all this stuff -- just say right on the website "Some tables may open up at noon the day of; please check back then."


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All this stuff can be automated. You set your regulars' accounts to a different access level that shows them reservations others can't see. At a certain time, like noon the day of, those reservations go into the public pool. You can announce all this stuff -- just say right on the website "Some tables may open up at noon the day of; please check back then."

But then you're making explicit a system that is better left implicit. It's a lot easier for people to accept (or not know about) a system that rests on the basis of a phone call to someone you have a personal relationship with than on a login id.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, yeah they COULD do that. so?

I don't see why you think they SHOULD do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are all sorts of feasible systems. The number of reservations being dealt with per day is pretty small. These guys all have blackberries that they're on all the time. Regulars at the Momos have Cory's cell number and various other ways of reaching out to the people they know in the organization. Whether this is done by phone or online, it's not hard to do. I'm sure they'll figure out a way when the time comes.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
well, yeah they COULD do that.  so?

I don't see why you think they SHOULD do that.

You don't see why I think they SHOULD have a system that gives priority to regulars? I think I've explained it a few times already.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are all sorts of feasible systems. The number of reservations being dealt with per day is pretty small. These guys all have blackberries that they're on all the time. Regulars at the Momos have Cory's cell number and various other ways of reaching out to the people they know in the organization. Whether this is done by phone or online, it's not hard to do. I'm sure they'll figure out a way when the time comes.

You may be over-estimating the amount of "reaching out" that either goes on currently or that people are willing to do in the future when it's difficult to get a reservation at Ko.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so let's say this is the model going forward...

The people who are regulars at Chang's other restaurants continue to get "special" treatment (comped dishes, drinks, whatever).

Those who somehow manage to become regulars at Ko (under the reservation system currently in place) continue to get no special treatment with respect to getting seats, but get some extras when they do eat there (extra truffles, an extra course or two). Regulars of other Chang restaurants might also get a little extra love at Ko.

I wouldn't have any problem with this as a "civilian" in this situation ("hey, why are they getting stuff I'm not?" I'm a realist, I know that kind of stuff goes on). Heck, I enjoy getting a little something extra at the places where I'm a regular. I would also think this would keep the vast majority of Chang regulars happy.

If I were a regular at a restaurant with an EXTREMELY limited seating capacity, I would totally respect an egallitarian reservation policy. Especially in NYC for crying out loud. I mean, I assume there are other places to eat.


-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eek! Entitlement! How awful!

Of course we're talking about entitlement. I pay therefore I'm entitled. The only question is what I'm entitled to. I think it's more than just the food on the plate.

Even if the restaurant and owner said that there would not be any preferential treatment (for obtaining reservations, anyway)? Would you still feel entitled?

I would certainly be annoyed. For example, I have some good friends from out of town who come in a few times a year. Because of the nature of their business, these trips are always last minute. These are some of the most beloved people in my personal universe, and when they come to town we always go out to dinner together and I want to be able to show them a good time. So when they say they're coming in two days, I get on the phone and reach out to a restaurant where I've established some seniority and I get us a table at that restaurant. I would be annoyed if a restaurant I thought was great, with which I'd spent years developing a relationship, couldn't squeeze me in. Ever.

Fat Guy, I'm one of those occasional out-of-towners you refer to (not your personal friend/guest, per se). I still do not presume or expect (nor would ever (EVER) solicit my friends on the ground to pull any restaurant strings for me.

Getting to New York is a rare treat for me; each meal is a near-priceless commodity. But, in no way do I expect or demand special treatment. In fact, I make all of my own reservations. If I don't get into (fill in your hard to get to restaurant), then so be it. I get in line, along with everyone else. I'd be happy to do so, regardless if I'm a devoted regular, and especially if the restaurant is known to avoid/prohibit preferential treatment.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't see why I think they SHOULD have a system that gives priority to regulars? I think I've explained it a few times already.

No, actually, I don't. They certainly don't need to. And, I certainly see why they shouldn't. With only 14 seats and the same 200 regulars to please, it'd essentially become a supper club. I don't think that's what Chang wants Ko to be.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So why are Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar regulars invited to previews at Ko? There's obviously a connection.

THAT, Fat Guy, is why it's called *FRIENDS + FAMILY.* Everybody knows that. I'm sure you've been to a few.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
well, yeah they COULD do that.  so?

I don't see why you think they SHOULD do that.

You don't see why I think they SHOULD have a system that gives priority to regulars? I think I've explained it a few times already.

I actually don't think you've made a remotely coherent case. It seems to me that you would like them to have such a system because you would benefit from it. I'm a regular at a few places in my neighborhood, and it's never occurred to me that I am owed anything beyond the good food and hospitality that led me to become a regular in the first place. Cheers to Chang for telling FG (and the rest of us) that we can all wait our turn. I'll be eating at Ko on the weekend, and I got my reservation fair and square. Can't believe that anyone on this board would actually complain that they are expected to do the same. I think Chang is sending a message to the those who come in to his restaurant toting the baggage of entitlement ... I applaud him for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It seems to me that you would like them to have such a system because you would benefit from it.

At Ko, probably not. There are so many people ahead of me in the hierarchy of Momo regulars that I wouldn't be given the secret code or special access. My objection in this instance is not selfish but theoretical. Anyway, I'll get my reservation "fair and square." I'm a professional at this -- I even got a reservation before it was possible to do so. However, I willingly admit to having selfish motives at many other restaurants where it is indeed correct to say of me "like them to have such a system because you would benefit from it." How is that such a bad thing? Again, if I pay in to a restaurant over time, I expect the system to benefit me. You bet I do.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I eat regularly at a small and select group of restaurants and I view every dinner at these restaurants as a privilege that I can't believe I'm so lucky to have. I am not trying to be a pollyanna about this but I am so grateful to have this luxury. I guess that is why I do shudder when I hear words like "entitled", "expect" and "pull strings". They are on the opposite ends of the spectrum from my feeling of gratitude at being able to eat the way I've been eating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...