Just how has Red Medicine’s outing of its no-show reservations played out in the restaurant world? It seems to be mixed.
On my Facebook page, Santos Uy, of the wonderful and very tiny Papilles Bistro gave a standing ovation. He said he usually responds to no-shows with “Cursing, a lot of f-words and other kitchen-speak. It’s the equivalent of being stood up. Not that I’ve ever been stood up. But I can imagine how it feels with how many no-shows and last-minute cancellations we’ve gotten.
“A lot of people in LA are either ignorant about dining out or just have no respect for restaurants. That said, we are very lucky to have some of the best customers period. And you’re not kidding about the thin profit margins. Small places like us and Red Medicine that are destination spots that don’t rely on foot traffic just can’t replace that lost 2/4/6 top. That lost table could’ve paid your labor cost for the day.
“Anyway I applaud Red Medicine and I will be spending even more of my hard earned cash there because of this article.”
Roxana Jullapat, of the equally wonderful (and almost as tiny) Cooks County, disagreed – and in no uncertain terms. “[It’s] unacceptable. I work at one of those small restaurants where people no-show on occasion. It has never ever crossed our minds to shame our customers publicly. It’s the reality of doing business in LA (or anywhere) and we deal with it without throwing a fit.
“In looking petty via Twitter and showing this much disrespect to their current and potential customers, the GM misrepresented his restaurant, his chef and his employees. I would never ever in a million years work for a guy like that!”
Susan Park, who with her husband Farid Zadi has run several restaurants in Southern California, reminded Red Medicine: “Even when a chef is going through a spectacularly successful phase in his/her career, [it’s] best not to burn bridges unnecessarily. You’re in the hospitality industry afterall. You never know when a loyal customer or friend will help you get out of this s&^t.
“Although, I have no issues with showing a truly awful customer the door, not showing up for a reservation is not that big of a deal. And yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of no-shows, when I’ve held tables in a small restaurant and lost a good chunk of income for the night because I had to turn down other reservation requests.”
[UPDATED: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the Braiser website] But perhaps my favorite response showed up on the website the Braiser, in the form of a series of dramatic GIFS.