An Open Letter to the Party of 20 Who Didn’t Show Up

indexDear Party of 15-20 People Who Never Fucking Showed Up,

We don’t take reservations because our restaurant is so small. We only have 13 tables, so reservations don’t really make sense for us. It’s our policy. When you came into the restaurant on Wednesday (when we weren’t even open, by the way, and you had to knock on the door to get the attention of someone) asking to make a reservation for Thursday at 5:00, we told you we couldn’t do it. But then you said how important it was because you and your family would be coming from a funeral and you would get to the restaurant as soon as we opened. We agreed to do this for you.

On Thursday, I get your table ready so we can seat at 5:00. I drag four two-tops next to two booths that seat four people each. I also move them down in such a way that we can cap the ends so we can now seat 18 people. If all twenty of you show up, I will bring another table from the front of the restaurant. This all happens as I also set up the patio and do my regular opening sidework.

At 4:45, I eat my shift meal as quickly as possible so I will be ready to serve your grieving family.

At 4:55, I water and ice all the glasses.

At 5:00, I unlock the door.

At 5:05 I think, “Hmmm, must be traffic.”

At 5:15 one of my regulars comes in with his wife and I tell them they can’t sit at their normal table, the same one they sit at every Thursday night.

At 5:30 I begin to think that you should be calling any minute to tell us you are on your way.

At 5:50, I fucking hate you.

At 6:05, I break down the tables because you obviously aren’t coming.

And this is why we don’t take reservations.

I understand that you were having a difficult day, what with burying one of your loved ones and all. You had a lot on your mind, I’m sure. What I don’t understand is how, out of the 20 of you, no one could take the thirty seconds that was needed to pick up a cell phone and let us know that your plans had changed. After all, we were doing you a favor in your time of need. What happened? Were you so overcome with grief that none of you had an appetite? Or were you on the way to our restaurant and someone saw an Olive Garden and got lured in by the thought of all those breadsticks? Or maybe your loved one was resurrected and instead of a somber meal at our restaurant you all went out to celebrate at Dave and Busters. For God’s sake, man, we bought and extra loaf of bread to accommodate you people!

My night went on without incident, but I found myself unable to shake off the rudeness that you exhibited. The next time you ask a restaurant to bend the rules for you in your time of need, please follow through on what you say you will do. Those 20-tops don’t just magically get set up. Someone has to get it all ready. And that someone is a middle-aged bitch of a waiter who, although was very disappointed with your no-show asses, at least found something to blog about today.

Mustard and mayo,
The Bitchy Waiter

26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Party of 20 Who Didn’t Show Up

  1. Kaos

    A few years ago I and 15 of my closest friends met up in a Midwest city that will remain nameless as a memorial gathering for a recently deceased friend. We were there for three days and ate pretty much every single meal, three meals per day, together. On one occasion at a *veeerrryyyy small* steakhouse place (shout out to their excellent Bloody Marys!!!) we had three extra local friends join us. IDK how many tables they put together to seat us…

    The steak house took reservations. Pretty much everywhere else didn’t. We did however give every single place a heads up that we would be descending on them, en masse and asked for their best guess of a good time “during breakfast,” “during lunch,” etc. that wold work for not only our group but for the restaurant and servers so as not to overwhelm everyone.

    Several of them when they knew we would be arriving “about 8:00 PM” [for example] already had things set up for us even though they didn’t take, nor did we request reservations. That was an astounding level of faith on their part that the person on the phone, who they didn’t know from Adam, or Eve as the case may be since we were all women, was being real with them. We did of course show up, separate checks (IDK if that was better or worse) and not one person gave less than a 20% tip as far as I know.

  2. Aleks

    It sucks for you that a big party didn’t show, but the key there is that it only sucks for YOU. It only effects you, taking a few minutes to put some tables together (oh no! exercise!). Do you ever think of anyone other than yourself? Perhaps you never lost a loved one, it seems you have not. There are thousands of phone calls to be made and that are coming in when a family loses someone. From the funeral home, hospitals, cemetery, family members, friends, extended family members, someone to read something at the service if you are so inclined. You have to pick an outfit for the person that passed, which alone, is more difficult that 1000 of the worst nights you had waiting tables. Losing someone is earth shatteringly devastating, ant not everyone is so composed to think of every detail and make a call to a restaurant. What if someone collapsed at the funeral due to grief? How dare you make assumptions or call them rude when you have no idea what actually happened, and you obviously don’t have an iota of decency in your body to just let this one go. You moving tables and filling cups with water, isn’t quite as significant as a grieving family. This post was disgusting. Get over yourself. Other people have problems much worse than you had on that day.

    1. Ali K

      What about the restaurant that asked an extra cook to come on to serve these people at an early hour? Who pays them?
      What about the extra food they had prepped to make sure they had enough for this expected group plus the rest of dinner service? Who pays for that food?
      How about this server who, likely, had his section moved around to accommodate this table, only to have his first hour completely free of guests, and thus, any money?
      A restaurant is a huge operation in which responsibility falls on just one individual. We all suffer when a 20 top doesn’t show up. If it’s my table, it sucks. If it’s my co-workers, well that sucks too because now some of the tables that were allocated to my section need to be shared with the one who got screwed. Meanwhile, everyone waits nervously while we give away the big table for fear that they are just “running late”. Yes… for hours.
      So unless you know anything about service industry, just shut up.

  3. Pingback: A Comment on Comments; the “20-Top No-Show” Video Edition | the bitchy waiter

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  5. bitchy host

    Or when you call a large party to confirm their reservation and set their table up and everything just to not have them show up. Or God forbid they have to wait on a Saturday night because we’re busy, or won’t take a reservation for them. Don’t get me started on mother’s day.

  6. Corinne

    ‘Were you so overcome with grief that none of you had an appetite’

    I love you, but damn.

    Yeah. It happens.

  7. Cassie

    I can beat you on that…. I had a 24 top on a FRIDAY night that didn’t show! They at least called 15 minutes late but then they turned around and sat me an incomplete 10! Grrr!

  8. Just A Poor Server

    We have a smaller restaurant too, but we have more than 13 tables. We don’t ~really~ take reservations, but if someone calls in we make sure that we get things set up. It’s especially fun when it’s Prom and Graduation season and we get all those wonderful people in here. What I don’t get is, when people come to our restaurant, you can see that we are small. We are attached to a mall for Christ’s sake, what makes you think you can walk-in with a party of 20 and get sat right away? Even reservations need to understand that it’s not fair to the server to have to lose 3-5 tables to wait for you to show up.

    I am happy I wasn’t in your shoes, but I know how it feels. Especially love getting those parties that stay in my section for 3+ hours and then not tip me. Love it.

  9. Amy

    Oh man, this is the most aggravating thing! This is so inconsiderate! Just pick up the damn phone….sorry can’t make it, very easy in this day of cell phones! Last Saturday I had to close my section 2 hours early to set up for a party of 36 people that decided to not show up, then on mothers day I had a cool 25 not show up! It’s rude and I lost out on a ton of money!!!!

  10. Jeremy Adcock

    It always astonishes me how little concern for other people some restaurant goers have. I do realize that a death in the family is a tragic event, but as you say someone could have picked up the phone. In a stunning turn of events they actually do more than social media and pictures.

  11. Will

    At my restaurant we pre authorize a card for any reservation of eight or more. If you don’t show or cancel with less than an hour before we open, we reserve the right to charge $5 per head.

    This post doesn’t even address the impact on the BOH. If a large reservation is made for what is typically a slow, say Monday/Tuesday night, the kitchen may double the amount of food they prep.

  12. Jerry

    You really think that your day was worse than theirs was? You lost 20 minutes of your day setting up a few tables and pouring some water. They lost a loved one. They are lucky they didn’t show up and have to deal with someone as insufferable as yourself.

    1. Jordan

      This is business, guy. You don’t mix the two. It’s completely inappropriate to ask a business to bend rules and then disappear — and have others inconvenienced. I don’t care who died. It harms nobody to call at 4:30 and say, “My B. We’re going to be no-shows!”

      Let me grab you a linen napkin to staunch the bleeding in that heart of yours.

    2. Michelle

      I have lost many loved ones. If something came up, I could still find it in my heart to do the right thing. I would highly appreciate someone going out of their way and making me an exception to their rules to do me a special favor in my time of need. It was so important to me to show up banging on their doors to ask a special favor days ahead of said favor. Please! I would give a quick call and say change of plans and thank you for your kindness. Class vs no class. Considerate vs inconsiderate. Geez

  13. Maximilien

    I used to work in a place where we were taking the credit card details for big bookings. You don’t show up , you get billed anyway.

  14. Alan H.

    We don’t do “reservations” either, per se. But if someone wants to have a large group come in, we try to always get a phone number so we can call them if they don’t show up.

    I’m sorry that, in their grief, they may have gotten so hungry they ate their phones and couldn’t call you.

    1. Alison

      The best is when they make a reservation and give a fake number. Even when they actually do show up I always wonder, did you think I was going to sell the number to a telemarketer? Stalk you because you think you sound incredibly hot on the phone? Prank call you in the middle of the night to ruin your sleep cycle? Are you a celebrity and I’m the only one that doesn’t know and you think I’ll sell you out to the paps? Why the hell would someone give a fake number on a dinner reservation!?!

      1. Spearchucker

        It’s called leaving your options open. If you decide to not show up, the restaurant can’t call and pester you. If you show up, it’s a moot point. If I were taking the reservation, I would tell the customer I am submitting it for review, and will call back shortly to confirm. That way you could verify the number before committing to the reservation. How do you know it’s a fake number if they do show? Why are you calling them?


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