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Restaurant Cancellation Fee

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine just made reservations for a large group of us in a restaurant, and was told there was a $75 cancellation fee for each member of the party who fails to show up. So, if the reservation is for a party of 18, and only 16 show up, they charge us $150.

Is this common? Of course, I know some restaurants charge cancellation fees if a reservation is cancelled entirely, even for small parties, but I never heard of a restaurant charging a fee when the actual party is smaller than the reservation. Then again, I don't usually make reservations for large parties.
post #2 of 29
I'd call shenanigans on this one. You should name names.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk
A friend of mine just made reservations for a large group of us in a restaurant, and was told there was a $75 cancellation fee for each member of the party who fails to show up. So, if the reservation is for a party of 18, and only 16 show up, they charge us $150.

Is this common? Of course, I know some restaurants charge cancellation fees if a reservation is cancelled entirely, even for small parties, but I never heard of a restaurant charging a fee when the actual party is smaller than the reservation. Then again, I don't usually make reservations for large parties.
post #3 of 29
Yeah, sounds sketchy. I could see if you were reserving a room and they had some kind of minimum threshold, but what you've articulated sounds kind of bogus. What if 20 show up and you all squeeze into the space reserved for the 18? Is the restaurant going to kick back to you a portion of its profit margin on the extra two diners?
Of course, I've never run a restaurant so I'm opining from behind the veil of ignorance here.
post #4 of 29
Maybe your friend wanted to make sure everyone would be in attendance.
post #5 of 29
^ but its the people who actualy show up that get charged though.
post #6 of 29
Aha, is this a reverse-Tragedy of the Commons issue? If only one person shows because the rest are afraid of being stuck with a bogus bill, does he have to pay $1275.00? What if no one shows up, does the restaurant implode?

If someone tried to charge me this I would laugh in his face and stiff him on the tip.
post #7 of 29
what can they do if you refuse on a cancellation fee, anyway?
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
No, my friend is the one who would end up getting stuck, because it's his credit card that's holding the reservation.

http://www.blackstonesteakhouse.com/

It might be that he got a private room, so maybe he just has to make sure the minimum number of people show up, but I didn't get that impression. I'll double-check.
post #9 of 29
sorry, I wouldn't go to this place
post #10 of 29
I've never heard of this. A minimum charge for a private room, I've heard of. Restaurants don't want a bunch of people taking up their private rooms and then have only half of them eating. But charging per head in such a large party? No. I call bullshit on this. Even at weddings, where the caterer has a pre-prepared number of plates, they aren't so rigid. They charge by the head (if there are a few extra last minute guests, they generally have extra food on hand - at least every good caterer I know does) after the fact. I would have refused the charge, and then raised a ruckus (not throwing things or anything , but arguing audibly in a public area (the lobby is best, everyone hears and so that all the other diners knew about the subject matter) if they insisted. What are they going to do? Kick you out without paying after you've already finished your meal? But I have a history of being an asshole about things like this, so mileage may vary.
post #11 of 29
yeah his best bet is to reduce his guaranteed number. Most hotels (in Asia while booking functions anyhow) will make you guarantee a certain number of people when booking a private room and then charge you for them irrespective of whether they show up or not. End up playing a balancing game of sliding down the minimum number of people without sliding it to the point where they hit you with a room rental fee instead. Ive had some issues with the Sheraton Saigon to that effect - I once tried to book a room for 18 ppl at 20 per head or so, they told me that they would be charging me a $200 room fee as they had a 20 person minimum. I pointed out that it is ridiculous that I could throw away the food and get the room for $40 by increasing my guaranteed number of attendees by two. I suggested doing this and donating the food to homeless people, and was told that I couldnt do that because taking food out of the Sheraton was against hotel policy. Seriously, how can throwing away food in a poor country be a good thing? Anyhow, logic did not prevail and I moved event to the Sofitel. Anyhow - advice for your friend - if he is expecting 20, secure it at 15. They wont object to setting a few extra places, ups the tips for the staff and take for the till.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T
Anyhow - advice for your friend - if he is expecting 20, secure it at 15. They wont object to setting a few extra places, ups the tips for the staff and take for the till.

Good advice. It's like telling a girl you've got 8", when really you've got 12".
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T
I suggested doing this and donating the food to homeless people, and was told that I couldnt do that because taking food out of the Sheraton was against hotel policy.

That explains a lot. Many years ago I was staying at a Sheraton on business and I tried to order a cup of chowder to go in their restaurant and they refused. So retarded!
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
Good advice. It's like telling a girl you've got 8", when really you've got 12".

I just mention in passing that Fok's wife posts on this forum...

Jon.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
But I have a history of being an asshole about things like this, so mileage may vary.

ROTFL! Me too. Good thing it wasn't me making the reservation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T

Anyhow - advice for your friend - if he is expecting 20, secure it at 15. They wont object to setting a few extra places, ups the tips for the staff and take for the till.

Yes, this sounds like the best thing -- I'll suggest that. Thanks.
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