Rant time - My girlfriend and I went to a restaurant last night, but the hostess (the person handling seating, reservations, etc.) left such a bad taste with us that we left.
We had made a reservation at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. I had heard good things about their restaurant in Palo Alto, so we thought we would try the one in the City.
Our reservation was at 7:30. When we arrived, the hostess said that their policy was to hold a reserved table for 15 minutes before giving it to someone else, so we would now have to wait at least 20 minutes for the next table. We were a little late, both because of the trouble finding parking in SF and because my girlfriend is traditionally a little late for everything. I checked my mobile phone, and it said 7:41, and showed it to the hostess. She said her clock said 7:45.
Ok, if it was 7:45, we were officially on time, so they should not have given our table away yet.
They have a phone on the wall behind the hostess, and it has a clock on it. I looked at it, and it said 7:39. So even by their clock, we were more than within the time limit.
What I take from this is that they messed up and either didn't have a table ready for our 7:30 reservation (so even if we arrived at 7:30 we would have had to wait), or they did give away our table earlier than their policy allows. Either way, I think it was very bad form for them to blame us for being late, rather than being apologetic about not having the table and say how they will try to get us a table as soon as possible. If they said this, I would have waited the 20 minutes. But instead, they left a bad taste with me, and I have no plans to ever go back there again.
By comparison, we went from there to Asia SF, a restaurant we had wanted to go to, but was always crowded and we never seemed to get ourselves together to make reservations. Walked up to the door without a reservation, asked if they had room, and they checked and were able to seat us right away. Not the best seats to see the, um, interesting floor show, but they made an effort that went beyond just finding us seats to ensuring we had a good meal and experience.