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RESTAURANT RESERVATION ETIQUETTES

After an experience at one of the best restaurants as a Managing Assistant in Istanbul, the one and the most unique thing I experienced was how you behave we restaurateurs reflect the same, in the most proper way! After guidance in tourism industry for almost 10 years, my lovely job gave me an opportunity to behave as myself, as how I want to be. However being in the hospitality sector has very sharp rules, very clear obligations! Smile! Doesn’t matter how your health is, doesn’t matter how your family situation, are you divorcing or not, you have depts to pay, it doesn’t matter that is your bad-hair-day, for the consumer you have to smile!

I remember myself had a speech on phone once; Mr.- Well, Ma’am, I don’t really know about your restaurant. Can you please describe it to me a bit? Me- Well, Sir, it’s rectangular Omg! He literally didn’t really know that I was staring at the restaurant for that second and I had no idea about what I was talking about that moment. Needed to clean up my s.ht… I don’t know if you can say such a word in Michelin star restaurant in Paris as an assistant of owner, but in Turkey, there are billions of different reactions you may receive.

After quiting my lovely job because of my real career guidance I still call myself restaurateur. So let’s help us a bit guys, let’s make the day just a little not that tiring for us.

1- PLAN IN ADVANCE – BOOK EARLIER Especially the days such a Valentine’s day! Omg! I remember the gentleman who made reservation just a day ago, was quite angry with the location of his table. And he said, “But this is Valentine’s Day!” Oh yes, we realized, with the other 20 more table who made reservation a week ago! The date of your reservation will really be effective. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Doctor’s Day, Christmas… etc… It’s always the best to get make reservation earlier, you may get a chance to book even a table in the front row. Ps. Most of the restaurants have specific amount of personnel. If you will arrive restaurant with 5 more people with you without reservation, do not forget that there will also be some other people we call “walk in”. There, personnel won’t be able to confront the number of the guests. So, if you book in advance, that will give restaurant a chance to hire extra workers daily. If you made your reservation already, congrats! You just completed the half of the procedure.

2- YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! Do not forget that for that birthday or bachelor’s dinner, even if you are protocol, you are not the one and only guests of this restaurant. Of course, there are special occasions; if the mother of the owner or president arrives, they will provide the best service. But when you are making reservation, to get better service or table in “nice” location, if you will insist that you are the most important table of that restaurant, this will never change the booking situation of the restaurant. Please do not forget to be nice.

3- CONFIRMATION If you are making your reservation online, be sure that restaurant received your reservation. Many of the reservation required restaurants are working with an online system, you can reach through their webpages. After you enter your details, you generally receive a confirmation email. Please read carefully! Mail may tell you that you are on the “waiting list”. To be sure that restaurant made your booking. Maybe, call them?

4- CANCELLATION 99% of the restaurants will not charge anything from you for your reservation in Turkey. If you make reservation, they get prepared for the number of reservations. Most probably they will call you for the confirmation but if they don’t, it still means they get prepared with considering the number of reservations. If you would like to cancel, it’s always so kind to cancel as early as possible. You can never know if the restaurant has a “blacklist” or not… Well, at least I created my own blacklist when I was working. Sorry dears.

5- ARRIVALS Oh, Istanbul… A rainy day… Weekend… Three in one situation! Assumedly, the possibility of your delayed arrival will be roughly 20 minutes which will cause a chaos at service and if the reservation works with table turn, which means there will be 2 sitting seances, you or the next guests will not be able to receive the proper service. Delay will shorten your time, cause the restaurant and possibly the kitchen system to delay and make the next guests to wait for their table and will stress you out. Due to this, if there is any situation occurs to make you arrive late, it’s always great idea to call the restaurant to inform them.

6- TIPPING Yes! This is one of the mostly asked questions during my tours. Yes, we tip. Yes, it will be so great if you tip! In Turkey, most of the hospitality workers in touristic areas working with minimum or average incomes. When you are tipping 10% in a restaurant is normal, the left-over coins dropped to the tip box at a coffee house will make the barista so happy. Yes, tip please. And sshh, but in some places, and may be, and this only works 50%, tip more in hand to get help from your waiter for your needs, such as a glass of sweet wine for your wife’s birthday, or may be a little extra effort for a celebration, or maybe a nicer spot for your table.

BONUS: SAY HI! SEND LOVE! Open kitchens are probably best inventions of the restaurant world! Especially for the consumers. You see the way how they cook, how they work, how clean the kitchen is, and the system is. Imagine a whole life focused on 15 inches chopping board! The only moment Chefs’ socialize is the break time; they have coffee, for the ones who smoke and the moment you say hi and bye! Could be so nice for them to see you smiling. Sanem Yucesoy


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