The reservation system is a beauteous modern luxury. It allows people like me, with no self-control, to approximate when they will eat their next meal. It’s a foolproof system. I love it. It’s (nearly) flawless.
There’s only one problem: you. The no-show. The last-minute canceller. The double-booker, the indecisive field-playing restaurant-hopper. The jerk.
That’s right. If you know you’re not going to use a reservation and, instead of voiding it, you ignore it ‘til it passes, then you’re little more than a boorish, finger-sniffing turd burglar.
Let’s start with the obvious: restaurants are businesses. Some of them even pay their employees above minimum wage. Others (most) don't. But, either way, restaurants tend to operate on thin margins. When you cancel a reservation, you’re cutting into those margins. Even at popular restaurants -- and especially at small and/or fancy restaurants -- the cut can be deep. Eater reported that Alinea, Chicago’s shining, molecularly gastronomous star, could face a “100-percent loss of profit” if even just a couple tables ghosted.