Reservations and Restaurants

29 06 2007

I realized this a while ago, but I figured I’d finally blog about it. 

“Reservation” translates into something completely different in Chinese.

When you make a reservation at most “Western” restaurants, you can be pretty much assured that when you show up for your 1900 reservation that your table will be ready for you at that time.  You enter the restaurant, sit down, and enjoy a pleasant dining experience, without the hassle of waiting and pacing wondering when you’ll be able to sit down and spend some quality time with your dinner guests (in comparison to “waiting time” which is FAR from quality time).  You dine, relax and move on.  All quite stress free.  Nice.

When you make a reservation at “Chinese” restaurants, it seems to translate to “I’d like to reserve my spot in the waiting list for that time”.  This means that upon your arrival, the host/hostess acknowledges your presence and puts you into the queue.  Effectively you have “reserved” your spot in line, not a table. So when you arrive at 1900 for your reservation, if you’re lucky you’ll get seated at 1930 (if people that KNOW the staff don’t show up during that time).  If you’re unlucky, you’ve just missed a “seating cycle” and you could be waiting a VERY long time.  Take heart though – you’ll be ahead of the other people that are waiting that walked in.  Lucky you.

Why is this considered acceptable?  I know I don’t consider it so.  If 10 minutes has passed and I’m not sitting down, I start to let the host know of my displeasure.  I think one of the benefits of being a large Caucasian person is that they really don’t want to get you pissed off, so they do what they can to “make things work”.  Chinese clients, while apparently often unhappy, just seem to sit and fume quietly. 

Have you had this oddity happen to you?   What do you do about it?  Sit and take it, or remind them that YOU are paying (or would be if they’d get you a *##!#*%^ seat).

Long weekend coming up!  Enjoy.



2 responses

30 06 2007

It seems you just don’t know the right people. You need to know someone so that when you walk in they say ahh Mr Yee right this way.

ps. should be your not you table will be ready for you at that time

2 07 2007

Yes, I’ve found that at a few restaurants, I’ve gotten to the point that I “know the right people”. Handy 🙂

typo fixed.

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