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IMDonehere Jul 15th, 2015 06:57 AM

I just cancelled a reservation at Santina. Not because of we cannot make it, because we can, but because of their reservation cancellation policy. They were going to charge $30 a person for a late cancellation. This is not a high end restaurant where you spend a few hours, this is a noisy, high volume, fairly large establishment where you can eat for a medium sized bill.

It is owned by the same group who have Parm, Dirty French, and Carbone, none of which we will go to again.

Our cancellation was part of our protest and I sent them an e-mail telling them why,

I can understand this at a very expensive place where seats are at premium and a cancellation is a irreplaceable loss, but a place like Santina, no.

nycguy10002 Jul 15th, 2015 11:15 AM

"Our cancellation was part of our protest and I sent them an e-mail telling them why,"

Let us all know if you get an answer back from them.

NeoPatrick Jul 15th, 2015 12:42 PM

Get ready. This seems to be an increasingly popular tactic of restaurants. Blame on all those that make multiple reservations then at the last minute decide which one to honor.

I cancelled a reservation in Chicago because the "fine" was $100 (actually $50 per person) and it was a few hours after we were to arrive. I didn't want to risk a late plane costing us $100.

NeoPatrick Jul 15th, 2015 12:44 PM

Oh, and our reservation was for Topolombomba. While it's pretty high end and very popular, even there every night people arrive hoping to get a cancellation and if they can't they eat at Frontera Grill (sister restaurant next door), so again -- it's not like the restaurant isn't going to be able to fill the table if you cancel.

But what is the time frame for cancellation? If less than a hour, then I really don't get it. Wouldn't you know within an hour that you can't make it to the restaurant?

NewbE Jul 15th, 2015 12:52 PM

Then there are the restaurants that sell tickets!
(an old-ish link, but I posted it in case no one believed me)

IMDonehere Jul 15th, 2015 12:59 PM

The time frame was less than an hour for the penalty to cancel.

I will let you know if I get a response from them.

We only eat an expensive meal once, maybe twice, a year but we do frequent inexpensive and medium priced restaurants at least once a week and as much as one person can do to discourage this trend I will.

It is absurd that the price range of Santina should have this charge. The restaurant will tell you the money will be contributed to charity. That is little consolation.

NewbE Jul 15th, 2015 01:08 PM

<as one person can do to discourage this trend I will. >
Fine, but have you never encountered this before? Alice Waters was doing it decades ago.

IMDonehere Jul 15th, 2015 01:16 PM

Not really, Newbe. There were a few high end restaurants that did it but now the trend is downwards. Even when I worked and went to an expense account lunch, I do not remember the penalty.

Here is a recent article from the NY Times and it mentions Santina, which I did not remember when I originally read the piece. It is a relatively new trend here.

NeoPatrick Jul 15th, 2015 01:44 PM

Well, again if you can cancel an hour before and not pay the penalty, I'm not sure what the big deal is. And if some true emergency comes up -- your taxi is involved in an accident on the way, for example -- I'm betting if you call the restaurant a half hour before and tell them what happened, they will NOT end up charging you. The whole idea is really about people simply not showing up and making no effort to even cancel.

I'm not surprised the big trendy restaurants are doing this now. After all those are the places that several of a group will all make a reservation at and then over cocktails they decide which one they'll actually go to. Blame the bad manners of so many customers -- rather than greediness on the part of the restaurant.

ekscrunchy Jul 17th, 2015 12:17 PM

The only one of that group I've been to is Carbone, where I had a good lunch about a year or so ago, but not great enough to merit the prices or to give a high recommendation here.

But if you are looking for moderate-high, casual spot with good food and congenial staff, I'd recommend Babbo. I know, I know, obvious choice and all that. I had not been in many, many years and had such a pleasant dinner there a few weeks ago that I plan to take Italian-food-loving partner for a birthday next month. Not all that difficult to make reservations if you are willing to dine early, and not as noisy as I had remembered or as has been reported. (UPstairs quieter)

It bugs the heck out of me when I read on food sites that people have multiple bookings and hold them until day of, asking "which one should I go to, I have tables at Santina, Upland, Clocktower, etc etc…." Too many diners with sense of entitlement and no class or consideration for others…..but do agree that that cancellation charge is beyond the pale.

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