Effective March 14, 2020, this group will be on hiatus until the end of April. I will be scheduling something around that time, so watch for updates. Have a great Spring. Dale
Welcome to Vancouver Dining Out, one of the more active Meetup food groups in the region. Every week, we try to gather at one or more restaurants for dinner and great conversation. We limit our choices to those restaurants located in Vancouver, Clark County and Southwest Washington (within reasonable driving distances). We draw inspiration for our choices from restaurants that are reviewed in the Weekend Section of The Columbian newspaper. We also dine at restaurants that are recommended to us or are a favorite of our Meetup group for return visits. Let us know if you have a suggestion for a restaurant to visit.
We purposely keep our outings small, generally between 8 – 12 attendees. We have found that this helps to encourage everyone that attends to participate in the conversation and reduces the stress that comes from being in a large noisy group. It also reduces the strain on the kitchen and serving staff of the places we visit. Thus far, it seems to work well, from all the positive feedback we receive from attendees and restaurant owners/managers. The downside to this strategy is we often times have more people interested in going than we can accommodate. That results in the creation of a waitlist. But don’t be discouraged if an event is full. There always seems to be cancellations and if you are on the waitlist, you could be automatically added to the RSVP attending list when others cancel. If you see something you like, sign up. Knowing that you are wanting to attend one of our Meetup events, our event leaders make every effort to get you included.
“The Fine Print”
As mentioned above, we generally limit our events to 8-12 attendees and often times we have a waitlist. Most folks are able to respond quickly to a change from waitlist to “going” on short notice but we encourage and support you cancelling your RSVP as soon as you determine you are unable to go. This helps to make sure that as many as possible that want to attend our events are in fact able to do that.
Conversely, those that don’t show up or that cancel the day of the event prevents the members on the waitlist from attending. Simply put, we end up with empty seats at our table. This is also unfair to the restaurants that often times will set up our eating area based on the count we give them. All in all, not a good outcome.
To encourage members to be mindful in managing their RSVPs, we treat no-shows and same day cancels the same. At the first occurrence, we will send you a message reminding you of the importance of managing your RSVP. Understanding that life happens and sometimes we are not able to avoid having to no-show or same day cancel, there is no penalty on the first occurrence. If it should happen again, you will receive a message alerting you that a third occurrence will result in your removal from the group. It is not my desire to remove anyone from the group, for any reason so I really appreciate your understanding and cooperation in managing your RSVPs.
Finally, we are not in any kind of numbers game to see how many members we can get. We are pleased with the growth in membership over the past 18 months but that is not our goal. All we want to do is provide you with opportunities to meet with other interesting and nice people over dinner. To that end, every three months or so, we will remove those memberships that have not visited our Meetup Group Page in the past 12 months. Most likely, that means they have moved on or even forgotten about our group. You do not actually need to attend a Meetup event to stay active. Just visit the website once in a while.
The following comments are the result of a few minor incidents and observations at some of our events. In most cases, none of this will apply to you personally - but please keep it all in mind when you join us for dinner.
As our Meetup Group name implies, we meet for dinner and good conversation. While there is a chance that Happy Hour occurs while we are at a restaurant, that is not our intent when we schedule our events. We try to strike a balance by visiting different parts of the city at different times of the evening. Regardless, it is expected that you will be eating dinner with us, whether it is a full entrée or multiple Happy Hour selections. In fairness to the restaurants who bend over backwards to accommodate our group, please consider purchasing a beverage if you are also purchasing specially priced Happy Hour items. Let’s not nickel and dime these restaurants who serve us so well.
On a similar note – Happy Hour items are priced with the intent you will be consuming on-site, along with a purchased beverage which enables the restaurant to recover some of their costs and continue to offer us great deals. Please do not abuse that by ordering a bunch of Happy Hour items “to go” and/or just water. Most servers try to be polite and may even just look the other way, but let’s be fair.
Finally, many restaurants automatically apply a set gratuity for larger groups – which we are in most cases, even though we request separate checks. Keeping that in mind, please be generous and liberal in your tipping to respect the great effort put out by our servers to keep us happy. They will appreciate it and the restaurant will be especially eager to welcome us back.Unless the service is truly bad, I personally tip 20% at every restaurant we visit. I encourage you to do the same.
Feel free to send me a message with any questions, concerns or suggestions
Dale Groetsema, Organizer, Vancouver Dining Out Meetup Group