Is a restaurant reservation a firm commitment?

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A poll of 1,230 frequent diners found that many of them were frustrated with restaurant policies regarding late arrivals.

The survey found that diners had little patience for restaurants that fail to have tables ready when they arrive. Most of the diners thought of restaurant reservations as "firm commitments."

[The unscientific survey was by Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research; available here]

Diners also sounded off about late arrivals. The general feeling was that fine restaurants should hold tables for up to 15 minutes when a party is running late.

What do you think?

Do late arrivals only have themselves to blame for being late?

And should fine restaurants require that every party guarantee their reservation with a credit card, and charge a fee if diners miss their reservation after 15 minutes?

Also, what do you think about restaurants that penalize guests when one or more members of a party do not appear on time?

Feel free to comment about any of your restaurant gripes below...

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