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The Fat Duck 2009


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  • 1 month later...
that really random. do any other top end restaurants do this? i love eating on my own sometimes.

I had a tip from the maitre d' of a well known 2* who suggested that when booking, I should book a table for two, but turn up on my own. He suggested that a restaurant is less likely to accept a single diner, as hanging on for a couple would generally mean you'd achieve a larger spend (apparently I am an exception to this rule!).

Certainly if a restaurant refuses to accept bookings from a single diner then they deserve this approach. It's not like they can turn you away.

Cheers, Howard

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Not a good idea at the Fat Duck where you are required to leave a credit card and are charged £80 per person for no shows.

Interesting point, but if I have turned up with, say, three instead of four with a credit card guaranteed booking, then they haven't charged me for the no show.

Cheers, H

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book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing

or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito

or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.

or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

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book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing

or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito

or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.

or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

Really. Dining shouldn't be this hard.

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing

or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito

or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.

or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

Never mind that, say your guest has the norovirus or is an environmantal health officer :biggrin:

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Strange. I have been there on my own and there was no problem at all. Wonder why this approach would have changed. Dining on my own, based on my wine choice I tend to have a higher bill than the couple next to me who just drink wines by the glass.

Reminds me of a restaurant in Germany where a few years ago I wanted to book a table for 3. I was told that they would only accept bookings in increments of 2, so either 2 or 4. Booking for 3 would mean that with their square tables one seat would remain empty.

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whilst i suspect a call to them might elicit a positive response, i can see the restaurants point of view, they only have 44 covers (i think) given the fact that there is a large amount of fixed cost in the business 1:1 chef to punter iirc , if they were making the industry average 10% net profit the only c. the last 4 punters would be profit , the rest just goes to cover costs so it might seem petty but if they don't max out the place as often as they can, they'll lose money. or lose even more , as heston often says the FD itself doesn't make money due to the small number of covers and high fixed costs.

you don't win friends with salad

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given some of the prices i 've seen there, i think they've had a good go! fundamentally it looks like a loss leader for the heston brand with the ratio of staff to punters and number of covers making decent profitability unlikely.

el bulli the same, doesn't make any money per se.

you don't win friends with salad

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Still, when you compare prices at the fat duck compared to some of the places in Paris, it doesn't seem quite so bad! I expect they could happily charge £150+/head for the tasting menu and still be full every time, but I guess they don't want to alienate everyone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Times reports that it was the shellfish:

The vomiting bug that forced the closure of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck was caused by sewage-infested oysters and razor clams, according to an official report released today. ... An investigation by the Health Protection Agency found raw oysters had been contaminated with norovirus from infected sewage. Infected staff may also have passed on the virus to the 529 diners who fell victim. The restaurant closed for three weeks after the outbreak. ...

The chef and his team are criticised in the report for failing to notify environmental health officers about a problem when they first received complaints about diners falling ill in January. Instead they waited until February 24 before alerting the local authority. This delay complicated the subsequent investigation into the cause of the illness and scientists are now unable to establish the exact reason for the contamination.

Very interested to see how this all plays out, especially in relation to the month lag.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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