When it comes to seating capacity, Carpe Vino is a Mini Cooper of a restaurant. We have just 34 seats, which makes for an intimate dining experience. That’s great. . .as long as everyone with a reservation fulfills their commitment and shows up.
And all too often, that’s just not happening.
On a recent Friday night the restaurant was fully booked, forcing us to turn away a number of walk-in customers. That evening, we had a table of five and a table of six both cancel a half hour before their reservation times. As a result, we lost nearly one-third of our seating capacity and took a major hit on revenue for the evening (as did our service staff).
We understand that issues come up and people are forced to change their plans, but when a reservation is made, it is in essence a contract. We agree to make sure seating is reserved exclusively for customers at the time they request in exchange for their commitment to appear as promised. It’s quid-pro-quo, except when our guests don’t show and we’re left holding an empty bag.
So, starting May 1, we will request a credit card number to secure all reservations for parties of five or more. If customers cancel on the day of their reservation, $25 per person will be charged against the card. This modest levy will help cover our fixed costs and help limit potential losses.
This policy will not apply to parties of four or less. Reservations may be cancelled the day before without issue.
Actually, this is the last thing we want to do, but we really don’t have any options other than to continue to put our business at risk. We genuinely appreciate the legion of customers who always fulfill their reservations; for them, this policy is of no consequence.
We’d welcome your feedback. Thanks!