I just went through Opentable.com and searched around to get a feel for how reservations are lining up for KRLD Restaurant Week 2010. What I did find isn’t pretty. This week looks fairly good for big guns like Abacus, Stephan Pyles, Five Sixty, Al Biernat’s, Craft, and Charlie Palmer. However, I could get a table at any one of the aforementioned restaurants before their participation in the charity event ends on September 5.
What surprised me was that I could get a table for 2 this Friday during prime dining hours at what should be big guns—Brownstone, The Grape, Jasper’s, Shinsei, and Truluck’s. Check out the status of this Friday night here. (Don’t know how long these links will stay put.)
Next week looks grim for many places. On Wednesday, August 25, there are only 2 restaurants sold out (Abacus and Craft). The list of available seating is here. OUCH!
What is going on? Why are places like The Grape, Salum, Oceanaire, Nick & Sam’s, and Mercury Grill not filled with diners looking for a great deal?
Are we looking at a disastrous turn out this year or is it too early to tell? Are you staying away? If so, why? (I hope I’m reading these search lists wrong. IJS.) Restaurants, we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps people are assuming you are full.
Update: This note from Eliza and Adelmo Banchetti of Adelmo’s.
We know that the customer is always right, but we found ourselves, last Saturday night, holding tables for prime time “no show” or last minute cancellations for Restaurant Week reservations. Just frustrating. Most restaurants, those with lounges and bars, overbook, so that no-shows or cancellations are easily absorbed. We do not overbook, since we do not have a lounge or bar area. We’re thinking about starting a cancellation policy, and we would be curious to know what other restaurants have in place, that we could learn from. Common courtesy and sense, would say that if you take the time to make a reservation, then you can take the time to cancel, because we DO UNDERSTAND that things can come up.
I’d say that is more than a reasonable request. Thanks to Eliza and Adelmo for sharing their experience.
Udpate: This from Max Rudberg, GM at Craft Dallas:
We are not fully booked – we have availability at 5:30 or 9:30 on most days of the 2 weeks we’re participating. Many places chose not to utilize OpenTable for this promotion due to the added cost on such slim margins (they collect a fee for each cover booked online). Also, I need to speak to each guest that is booking, like the old days. With OpenTable, you are not even guaranteed to have the guests accurate contact info and are unable to contact a guest booking online via their email address. OT only shares the phone number and those aren’t always up to date. This reinforces the need to speak to them personally. We have a very low cancellation and no-show rate and want to avoid the need to charge folks fees for these.