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Daily News from New York, New York • 402

Publication:
Daily Newsi
Location:
New York, New York
Issue Date:
Page:
402
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

once and they're going to pay us and the Multiple Listing Big Shot The latter, described By SUZANNE HAMLIN identically by so many different sources that he appears to be one person, makes reservations at two, and usually three restaurants for the same night be 15 minutes late. "He has beautiful manners." Restaurants now take precautions against no-shows, the most frequent being to take a phone number or to ask the reservee to call and reconfirm on the day of the reservation. But although this mav be a psychologically sound ploy (a not-so-subtle message to the reservee that this is considered a serious engagement), it does not always work out practically for the restaurants. "If it's Saturday, we have the office number and they don't answer," bemoaned one restaurateur. "Everyone has the right to change his or her mind," says Alan Lewis.

"That is, after all, why there is divorce. But life has to be based on consideration for each other. And if you're not going to make it home for dinner, it's terrible not to call." Several cocktails into the early evening, he canvasses his invited guests. "Now where would you like to go tonight? Caravelle? La Cote Basque? Lutece? I can get us in anyplace." And indeed he does. The other two tables across town just keep on waiting.

"But strangely enough, it is never the famous who don't call," says Glenn Birnbaum, owner of Mortimer's, the society cafe. "Now they might be late and they usually are but they always call if they're not going to make it or be on time." Karen Hubert says that one extremely well-known and frequent customer calls even when he is going to ieaboxt (actual size) ipmiim win '53)i ShaJctVdl Apple Eve is proud to present the Juice Box'." A whole new way to enjoy the pure, fresh taste of Apple Eve Apple Juice and Apple Cranberry Juice (the only cranberry juice product with no sugar added). The Juice Box fits in your lunch box. Your picnic basket, your briefcase. Comes with its own straw.

So you can take it anywhere. Great for singles, kids, and people on the go. The Juice Box doesn't need the icebox. It stays fresh without refrigera- tion for up to 6 months. are the bond of trust, the 1 Vi confirmation between guest and host of a Li -k promised tryst, the assurance that "I will be coming and you will be waiting for me." But with increasing frequency, according to New York restaurateurs, they are waiting but we are not coming.

At Manhattan's top restaurants, the number of "no-shows" on weekend nights can be as high as 30, a proportion that can wreak economic havoc. "If 5 of the reservations at Windows on the World don't show up that's about 30 people a night out of 600 it represents a loss to us of about $1,000," says Alan Lewis, director of the restaurant These social deviants are described by their would-be hosts in terms ranging from mild to direct People of absolutely no Roger Fessaguet, the co-owner of La Caravelle, relates a high percentage of Saturday night defaulters. "Don't these people know that a reservation is a moral contract?" Leon Lianides, owner of The Coach House restaurant, says that "no-shows have gotten much worse in the last four or five years. This is a new breed of people brash and angry and they are destroying a long-time trust A reservation is an important reciprocity." It is not it must be noted immediately, the broken reservation that causes such ire. Everyone, after all, has emergencies or changes of plans or bad traffic, say the restaurateurs.

It is the person who does not have the common decency to call who is upsetting the dining cart Restaurants can often fill in the slots if they know, even at the last minute, that they will have an empty table. Or they can rearrange the dining room, reassign the waiters, change the pace of the service. Call, even at the last minute, and they won't bite back. They can. in fact, be pussycats.

"I am always astonished at the restaurant's reaction," says a frequent restaurant-goer whose peripatetic life causes him to cancel, if not with frequency, on occasion. "Even if I call an hour before I'm due, the graditude is staggering. Am I to assume from this that cancellation notice is unusual?" The assumption is rapidly confirmed by the restaurant community. At Manhattan's luxe restaurants, the reservation list provides the script for the evening. Times, people, space, employes and food supplies are orchestrated in advance.

The choreographer must assume that all the dancers will be there. Lateness i from 15 minutes to 30 has been written into the script, but unexpected no-shows can do everything but wilt the flowers. "Who wants to look at an empty table in the middle of the room?" asks Fessaguet "It is ugly. You are holding and holding. You've turned down a last-minute caller, you get angry." "It builds up nerves, it makes a restaurateur unpleasant" says Lianides." Restaurants that depend on or encourage a chaotic atmosphere are not so undone by no-shows.

They can shuffle the customers, if not quite off to Buffalo, to a long stand at the bar. They have an audience waiting in the wings from walk-ins. But in restaurants that plan on diners taking at least two hours for a meal, no-shows can be devastating. "Small restaurants cannot afford to be abused this way," says Karen Hubert, co-owner of Hubert's, the intimate, highly regarded Gramercy Park restaurant "I think there is a strong feeling on the part of the 8 public that restaurants make a huge profit and it makes no difference whether they show up or not It 2 simply isn't true." 0 Andre Soltner, owner of Lutece, maintains that customers control his gastronomic future. "I have 29 tables and if I lose three or four an evening, my day is ruined." "8 The no-shows rise and fall as predictably as the 5 tides, according to the day of the week and the time of day.

Lunch no-shows are almost nonexistent; 1 business people honor their reservations. Weeknight reservations are kept fairly consistently. It is on Friday and Saturday nights that the no-shbw percen- tage hits its peak at 20 to 30. And the no-show personality can be grouped, according to the restaurateurs, into definite types, ranging from light to darkly callow. There are the Simply Thoughtless, the occasional Revenge Reservation couldn't get a table (li nature All you taste is the juice, not the box.

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Pages Available:
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Years Available:
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