An Incomplete Party

A Between Meals post about the Michael Bauer’s latest service issue garnered lots of responses Monday. Restaurant service, like bad drivers, is one of those topics that almost always evokes a response from readers convinced they are in the right.

The SF Chronicle’s head foodie brought up the sticky question of whether or not restaurants should seat incomplete parties. It comes as no news that many restaurants won’t seat incomplete parties because there is no telling how long it will take the stragglers to get there, meanwhile valuable floor space is being used by customers who aren’t yet paying.

Bauer didn’t take a strong position, but 32 commenters broke out their superfluous quotation marks, poor spelling and general grammatical cluelessness in vehemently arguing their points. Those positions ran the gamut from staunch opposition to restaurants controlling who sits where when, to full support of hosts and waiters doing whatever they need to do to get tables sat, served and out.

Bauer suggested something like a 15-minute grace period for incomplete parties, which seems like the most reasonable solution. Either way, this seems like another one of those questions, like being nice to elderly people, that shouldn’t have to come up. If everyone was on time, it wouldn’t be an issue. We really hope Ms. Manners doesn’t read Bauer, Bruni or us, for that matter.

“We’ll seat you when your entire party arrives.” [Between Meals]


An Incomplete Party