Thursday, May 19, 2005

We Don't Take Reservations

[ This story is my Dad's, he told us it at dinner the other day. ]

Monday afternoon at about 1pm Dad called Outback Steakhouse because we were planning on going there for my Mom's Birthday dinner. He wanted to check if they took reservations, the conversation went roughly like this:

Dad: Hi, I was wondering if you take reservations for parties of 4.

Dude: No, we don't take reservations. We do have call-ahead seating though. [ ed. Where you call ahead 20 or 40 minutes ahead of time to get on the waiting list, even though you haven't arrived yet. ]

Dad: Oh, OK, well does it get very busy on Monday nights? Do we need to call ahead?

Dude: Yeah, actually it sometimes gets kind of busy, calling ahead is usually a good idea.

Dad: OK, well I'll call ahead then I guess. Thanks.

Dude: Ok, what is your name?

Dad: What? It's Eck, why do you need that?

Dude: For call-ahead seating.

Dad: What? It's like 5 hours before we want a seat.

Dude: That's OK, you can call ahead up to 7 days in advance.

Dad (In his head): Umm, how exactly is that different then a reservation?


Scooter said...

I had almost exactly that same conversation with Outback once. I think they don't like to be seen as upscale dining or something.

Steve Eck said...

Hehe, exactly.

I imagine the distinction is all about managing our expectations as to what will be available when you show up.