Dining Reservation Etiquette

Aug 6th, 2012, 05:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
Dining Reservation Etiquette

I have started to make some dinner reservations for France, mainly in smaller towns in Provence, but plan to make some for Paris too. My husband and I are more planners than the other couple we are traveling with, so if they should decide they would rather eat elsewhere on any particular day, how late is too late to cancel our reservations? Don't want to be a rude American.
koala is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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It all depends on the type of restaurant you are going to. If it is the kind where you can make reservations the same day for that evening, you can cancel even late in the day.

If it is the sort of place where you have to reserve a week or more in advance, it is not appreciated to make last minute changes.

Nevertheless, they are used to it.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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I couldn't agree more with what kerouac has written but remain somewhat surprised as I thought that he seldom went to restaurants where reservations might be required.
Sarastro is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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The best rule of thumb is to cancel as soon as you are aware that you have to. That gives the restaurant time to reassign your table.

Can your friends not indicate now whether they want eat with you or elsewhere?
Rubicund is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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Sarastro, make that 'never' instead of 'seldom.' Although I am a non-foodie and I value maintaining complete freedom to be able to change my plans on a whim, I do know how the system works.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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As you know, some restaurants in the US now ask for a credit card and charge a fee, usually $100, if they cannot fill your space after a late cancellation, but I haven't run into that in France.
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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I just didn't know if small restaurants plan on ordering a quantity of food based on how many reservations they have on any given morning, as I wouldn't want them to be left with food that wasn't going to get eaten if I cancelled. I don't actually know how busy these places are, which is why I currently made reservations almost two weeks in advance, but that was likely overkill. One is a hotel restaurant in Sault that I suspect would have limited seating availability (Hostelleria Val du Sault). Most others, I think are small to medium sized local places that seemed quite popular (in Vaison la Romaine, Isle-sur-la-sorgue, and Gordes), so I suspect they would be able to fill if I canceled earlier on the day of. I haven't made any reservations for Paris yet, but likely will soon.

No one had asked me for a CC to confirm the reservation, otherwise I likely would have avoided it, due to the uncertainty.
koala is offline  

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