It could cost you big bucks to let a premium restaurant reservation go unused. Some high-end restaurants around the country are charging customers anywhere from $50 to the full cost of a prix-fixe meal for not showing up, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Other restaurants are turning to social media to shame customers who stand-up reservations. The owner of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark tweeted: "And now a message from the Noma staff: to the people of two different no-show tables last night," with an attached photo of waitstaff giving the missing diners the middle finger, according to the Journal's story. The tweet has since been removed.
It's not just fancy restaurants that are getting tetchy about no shows--Walt Disney World asks for a credit card to hold a reservation at many of its restaurants in Florida. No-show customers are charged $10 to $25 if they don't cancel 24 hours in advance, according to TIME's Moneyland blog.
What is the craziest fee you have been charged for not showing up for a reservation? Leave your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About 10 percent of restaurants in the national online reservation system OpenTable ask for credit card numbers to make certain reservations. In cities like Manhattan, where a prime Saturday-night reservation must be made months in advance, that number is more like 15 percent, according to the Journal.
It is not uncommon for other kinds of services, like spas and hotels to require credit card numbers and charge customers who don't show up. But this is a somewhat new trend for the restaurant business, which has seen a higher number of reservations overall with the popularity of the OpenTable system and other concierge services.
But some diners try their hand at selling their own reservations, not because they fear getting charged a fee, but because a good dinner reservation is worth something. Looking for a date-worthy reservation this Saturday night?
One diner in New York City has an advertisement for an 8 p.m. reservation at celebrity chef Mario Batali's restaurant Casa Mono and two tickets to a popular play for sale on Craiglist for $240. Though Casa Mona does not charge customers for not showing up, a good reservation has some market value.
"I planned this date months ago, but no longer have a date," wrote the ad poster. "It's a waste to cancel a reservation."