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Orlando Dining Out Group - Asking for your help

From: Helene
Sent on: Saturday, September 5, 2009 5:08 PM
Hello everyone!

Hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend and not "laboring!"

I want to ask for everyone's cooperation. We are a unique group in that we make reservations at restaurants, often times causing additional personnel to be brought in and additional food to be ordered. Unlike many other groups, where accurate counts are not necessary, it is important that we know exactly how many people are attending each event.

We have had some difficulties lately with our RSVP's. First, we have some people RSVP'ing "yes" for an event, and then not showing up. Second, we have had a large problem recently with people who had originally RSVP'd "yes" but then changing to a "no" at the last minute, sometimes only hours or even minutes before the event. At the last event, Tolla's, we had 40 "yes" RSVP's only 48 hours before the event. At the time of the event, we were down to 20 people. 18 people showed up. This ended up causing huge problems with the restaurant who, based on my reservation of 40 people when I spoke with the owner 2 days before our dinner, had turned away other reservations for that evening. The owner was furious, and while this isn't anything I could control, I do understand his position too. Frankly, I was embarrassed, and while the food was amazing at that restaurant and I'd love to return with the group, I would truly be embarrassed to call him again to make a reservation.

I will not even speak about the problem of no-shows since I'm sure everyone understands why this is a problem, except to say that if you RSVP "yes" and do not show up, you run the risk of being removed from the group, especially if it is a repeat occurrence.

Last minute cancellations are not only a huge inconvenience (and disappointment!) for the organizers and the restaurant, but very unfair to someone who may have really wanted to attend the event but could not get in. For our last few events, and for our current upcoming events, we have waiting lists of people. If someone cancels at the last minute, those people on the waiting list have likely already made other plans, assuming they would not be able to attend the dinner. Of course we understand that emergencies occur, and there may be rare times that a last-minute cancellation cannot be helped. "Life" happens. People get sick, cars break down, work emergencies occur....however, we may have to make the tough decision to remove members who continually make last-minute cancellations. Some of the "reasons" I was given for the last-minute cancellations for Tolla's were just plain inconsiderate. PLEASE....if you foresee a problem attending, change your RSVP several days in advance (before I call the restaurant with our final count), but definitely at least 24 hours in advance. (Hint: It is much easier to ADD you at the last minute, if you suddenly realize you CAN go after all, than for you to hold onto your spot until the last minute and then cancel...I have my iPhone with me at all the last minute if you find you can join us, e-mail me to see if there's room -- or e-mail Allison if she is the organizer of the event).

I do hate having to lay down rules - please don't let them push you away. Anyone who has attended our dinners can vouch for the fact that we've had some wonderful experiences, truly amazing food, ALWAYS a lot of fun. But we need your cooperation to help make our group successful.

Thank you for your help. Can't wait to see you at an upcoming dinner!


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