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Explosive: Smyth Calls Out No-Shows, Suggests Reverse Yelp: Rate Customers

smyth1by Andrew Chalk

Smyth posted the following on their Facebook page late Saturday:  

“Smyth strives to make a personal cocktail for each person that walks through our doors. The reservation-only model is not in place to keep people out, but to preserve the experience of those with the consideration and appreciation to make reservations for that experience.

That being said, The Smyth Family would like to personally thank the people that care enough to make a reservation, (especially large groups) & then decide not show up (or even call) while other, more-appreciative patrons would have wanted the aforementioned experience we planned.

No Shows Listed By Reservation:
– Monica Dominguez – 9 ppl – 10:15
– Andrew Turner – 6 ppl – 10:30
– Ramin Jafari – 2 ppl – 11:30
– Alfredo Rodriguez – 4 ppl – 11:30
– Clark Gable (srsly) – 6 ppl – 12am
– Elia Torres – 3 ppl – 12am
Smyth would also like to thank the people who showed up 30-minutes-to-an-hour late and we tried to accommodate anyway. It’s a reserved seat, not a guest list spot:
– Cyd Williams – 4 ppl – 8:45pm
– Katherine Fife – 3 ppl – 9pm
– Tyler Berger – 4ppl – 12am

We should not forget the 3 other parties that felt 15-30 minutes before a confirmed reservation is an acceptable time to cancel ( probably emergency situations all of them).

Smyth will also take this moment to apologize to everyone who has called us all week trying to get in this Friday night. And we mean this in sincerity. When you are fully booked a week and a half in advance, you wouldn’t think people who plan that far ahead would necessitate us having a waiting list. We apologize and sincerely hope we can treat you soon, we just wish that it could have been tonight.

Cynicism still aside, thank you to those who make reservations, show up on time, stick to the number they reserved, confirm their table, don’t prop the door open, understand when the next reservation arrives, bring new people in, forgive us when we come up short, and who appreciate that we are trying to do something different, special and unique here,

You get it. Smyth would not be here without you. This isn’t for us. We are here to serve you and Smyth takes great pride in that service. So much so, that it is difficult to deal with people who don’t respect that. You understand that we made the model we made to make sure that all of you have the best experience possible. Thank You.

Be Safe Tonight, Y’all. And Respect the Rezo. – Smyth”

In the comments, one of Smyth’s mixologists/bartenders/manager posted:

Omar Yeefoon I’m beta-testing the reverse Yelp. Where people can make reviewable profiles for customers.

First, I would like to congratulate Smyth on holding the no-shows (the people in the first of the lists above) responsible. There is absolutely no excuse for them failing to cancel reservations they had no intention of honoring. They did so because they thought they would not be held responsible for their actions (if you were killed in a car crash, e-mail the death certificate). They will blame their parents/society/global warming, anybody but themselves. They should have to actually pay compensation to Smyth, the staff, and the displaced customers.

Second, publishing the above first list will help Smyth because it will discourage people of this degree of personal responsibility from reserving with Smythe in the future. Smythe will have a more credible Friday night ‘book’ and staff morale will rise anticipating that the numbers coming in are real. It will also help other busy establishments: They can blacklist the names in the first list. OpenTable can  auto-cancel people on that list so that they don’t queue-block.

Third, I do hope the second list were those who not only showed up late but did not call to warn that they would be late. There are all kinds of legitimate reasons to be 30-60 minutes late in this town (three are traffic, traffic and traffic) so being late and calling is very different from being late and not calling.

Likewise, the parties who cancelled within 30 minutes of their reservation. Smyth may be sailing a little close to the wind calling them out as three out of what, 60 reservations, needing a last-minute cancellation is only 5 percent.

Finally, Smyth has drawn attention to the reservation system itself. We make no- deposit reservations because the restaurant business is so competitive. Ninety five percent of places would go out of business if they tried to charge a cancellation fee. Smyth is apparently in the enviable position of being able to fill each seat twice at weekends. I suggest to them that they charge a well publicized reservation fee (refundable against the bill) if a reservation is not cancelled within X hours (Smyth  can choose the X) of the reservation time. I would hazard a guess that as little as $10 would virtually eliminate no-shows. One thing you find about people who practice the most grossly irresponsible behavior is they won’t pay much for their habit.


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