July 28, 2006

It's a restaurant, not a hotel, I get it.

Primitivo Wine Bistro has the following point included in their website text. It seems that it is a list of guidelines for their servers and reservation staff, which is fine, but the tone is kinda, um, icky to have this posted on their website:
On Fridays and Saturdays all parties of 8 or more shall be advised, they have a window frame of 3 hours...I think that would be enough to dine for anyone.
How would you feel if your server told you that? Would you feel differently about the restaurant if you were aware of that before you sat down?


  1. That's just...wow. On the one hand, I can understand the desire to turn the table, but on the other, to say right up front that you're on the clock seems a bit low-class.

    Then again, they have "Tuna Tar Tar" on their "Prixe Fix" menu, so somehow it just all seems to go together. I hope their food is better than their spelling and attitude.

  2. I usually try to be conscious of how long I sit there and fill up a table when I'm not generating revenue, but, usually, when I'm with a party that spends 4 hours somewhere, we are spending heavily for a lot of wine and many courses and dessert.

    I guess I agree that 3 hours is enough, but my additional perception is that, in general, my ability to eat in that time is going to be heavily dependent on speed of service. So, their kitchen had better be on top, their server had better be prompt and attentive, and they'd better overall make me feel satisfied without making me feel rushed.

    Incidentally, I met one of the founders at a Ryze thing many years ago and let's just say I'm not entirely surprised to learn this.

  3. Salor: I often joke about how I should take a red pen to the menu and offer my editing skills in exchange for a meal. The worst offender I've ever experienced was Lincoln, at Wilshire and 23rd in Santa Monica, but then again, the food was so bad there I wouldn't have wanted to make that agreement!

    Wade: You hit the nail on the head. If the restaurant's not a well oiled machine, and it takes longer than 3 hours to promptly serve the amount of food my guests and I want to ordered, I don't want there to be a time pressure on my service.

    As long as a customer was generating revenue, I would never return to a place that had the audacity to tell a customer their time was up.

    A good server will know how to discretely make the guests know their time is up without saying, "You've got 3 hours. Ready... Set..."

  4. Late posting but...I would turn and run. That's why I like restaurants with one seating. I don't know of any in the U.S. though.


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