What’s the deal with restaurants that don’t take reservations? Are they trying to make life hard for us?
Pat Nourse, Gourmet Traveller restaurant critic and features editor writes:
It seems like a fiendish invention, this no-bookings business, but there’s method in the badness. For one thing, it means that you can rock up at a restaurant and potentially score a seat somewhere that’s so popular that you’d otherwise be waiting weeks for a table. The main reason, though, comes down to dollars and sense. I spoke to Barry McDonald recently, one of the owners of Sydney’s Fratelli Fresh, he said the reason bookings aren’t taken at Sopra, the permanently mobbed café/restaurant at the provedore’s original Waterloo and spanking-new Potts Point sites, is simple commerce. “If I took bookings for 49 seats when the most expensive item on the menu is $24, I couldn’t afford to have a restaurant.” Sopra is too small, he says, to not have the tables full at all times. “Once you start taking phone numbers, for us that would be another role and another job and you couldn’t sell main courses for $24... they’d have to be $28 or something. I want to be able to say you can have it both ways, because I want to be able to say yes to my customers, but the reality is that $24 mains and $3.50 glasses of wine don’t come with some things i.e. white tablecloths and reservations. You can’t even get good food at those prices at some RSLs... and my RSL doesn’t take bookings either.”