Ask The Salty Waitress: Do I really need to respond to reservation confirmation texts?

Photo: BrianAJackson (iStock), Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio
The Salty WaitressThe Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.

Dear Salty, Do I really need to confirm my dinner reservations by responding to the restaurant’s multiple text messages and phone calls? Aren’t these just reminders because the reservation app already reminds me? There were no consequences to the few times I could not call or text them back for whatever reason so why do I need to to this?

Thanks,
“Don’t waste my time”

Dear Time-Waster,

I’m sure you’re the sort of restaurant customer that makes just one reservation per night and sticks to it, come hell or high water. But I’m sorry to tell you the rest of the world isn’t always like that, lamb chop. I know, it’s hard to believe, but there are some dastardly people who make reservations at multiple restaurants on the same night and then decide on the spur of the moment which one they’re going to go to without bothering to ring up the other restaurants.

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And you know what that means? Second-fiddle restaurant get left holding the bag with empty tables they could have given to somebody else. So it’s in the restaurant’s best interest to confirm that you’re really, honestly, truly going to be there. (Plus, plenty of people just plumb forget exactly what time they made reservations for.) It’s gotten to be such a problem that some restaurants and reservation services are imposing consequences on no-shows: nixing your account, taking deposits, or—my personal favorite—passive-aggressively sending gift cards for the exact amount of the reservation fee.

But don’t take my word for it—I’m just a humble waitress, after all. Here’s the gospel directly from Nick Kokonas, the founder and CEO of the reservations app Tock:

Yes, you should definitely confirm as they may cancel your reservation if you do not.

Policies vary by restaurant, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s a nice gesture. Taking one second to text back allows the restaurant to prep the right amount of food, eliminate the need to overbook, and confidently prepare for your visit.

And seriously, how busy are you that you can’t take a few seconds to text a simple “yes” or “no”?


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com

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