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How to Score the Best Table at Restaurants without a Reservation

by Staff | September 27, 2019

How-To Life Hacks

Ah, the fine-dining experience…think fancy candles set on a table covered by fine white sheer Egyptian-cotton tablecloth in the dimly lighted atmosphere, with some stylish black-vested waiter pouring the most exquisite wine from the Bordeaux region of France with one hand on the bottle and the other hand behind his back to further enhance the finesse.

This is the perception that often comes to mind when we think of going out to eat contrasted to cooking at home, right? Okay, maybe this is a bit of a stretch from the typical diner, but you have to admit that eating out can be worthwhile for any occasion – date, family gathering, social reunion, etc. – and not if you purely looking to eat alone on a daily basis to fill your stomach.

When deciding on a restaurant, you will find that there are a lot of great places to explore and enjoy that fine-dining experience that you would and should expect from eating out rather than having a home-cooked meal.

However, when you factor in wanting the “best seat” in the house, if you don’t have a reservation, things can get tricky.

So how can you work around this to get the best table, without having reservations or anything along those lines?

  • Establish Importance

The first thing you can do sounds simple enough but will require you to polish up on some people skills because you do need to be friendly in engaging with the front desk.

Then gently plant a story in their mind that you are a VIP. Talk about credentials, whether in politics or otherwise, and make sure that you look the part. Don’t walk into a place with generic jeans and a t-shirt. Be well dressed, confident, meaning you need to stand tall, speak up, and not be easily stray from your path.

  • Name-Dropping

Do your homework. Know the waiters, know the staff, and know the chef. Drop names, and even think of important figures who you may be able to name drop as a guest. Mention you’re expecting to dine with them, or that you were invited by a certain individual. This will help you ensure that you get past the initial screening, and will get you the best table.

Name-dropping will help pre-establish a framework that allows you to claim a desirable spot in any restaurant.

  • Upfront Generosity

Alright, this one might create some inner moralistic conflict or outer economical burden, but it’s the good old try-and-true tactic of bribery. If you have exhausted your options, then it’s best to consider paying off the front.

When you walk into the establishment, speak to the greeter, and when he/she tells you that there’s no room, or that the place is fully booked, casually slip them some cash, around $50 – $100. Tell them something along the lines of “there must be something that can be done. A little of generosity can you increase your chances tenfold of having Lady Luck on your side. Nobody has ever said being benevolent can’t get you far in life.

You do not need reservations to get seating arrangement. You need to use visual language, financial cues, and insider information. Those things will guarantee you the ideal spot in many establishments.

by Staff

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