The Restaurant Reservation Rule Ted Allen Says You Should Never Break

You might think that fancy restaurants with great reviews don't have any trouble filling seats. In fact, you might think it's the exact opposite, since oftentimes very popular dining establishments will have hour-plus waits on most nights — if they can even seat you at all. It's precisely why many restaurants prefer for you to make a reservation, especially for a big party, so they have a good idea of what they will be expecting on any given day. For the same reason, casually blowing off reservations can have a big impact on the restaurant's business, not to mention on the other customers waiting for a table.

In fact, popular Food Network star and "Chopped" host Ted Allen says there's one rule when it comes to dining out that you should never break. "If you make a reservation at a restaurant but then can't go, you gotta let the restaurant know. Their survival in your community — and that of their staff — could depend on it," he Tweeted July 13.

It was in response to a post from "Top Chef" judge and Crafted Hospitality founder Tom Colicchio who also recently took to Twitter to express his frustration with the number of no-call/no-shows his team has recently dealt with at his New York City establishment: "20 no shows at Vallata restaurant, we only have 50 seats. Please if you can't make your reservation give us the courtesy and call to cancel so we can rebook the table."

Call the restaurant if something comes up

While it might seem like common etiquette — after all, you wouldn't make dinner plans with a friend at their house and then not call or not show up — many people forget about this basic rule when it comes to restaurants. Because they are busy locations, not private homes, some people may feel that it is not a big deal if they simply don't arrive for their reservation without letting the restaurant know. But no-shows can actually have a big impact both on the establishment and on their other customers, so it's always a good idea to call if you know you won't be able to make it (and really, a phone call only takes a minute).

The reason this is important is because, when you call to make a reservation, the restaurant then reserves that number of seats for you and your guests. But if people don't show, it often means the restaurant has lost out on the business those empty tables could have brought in, had they not been reserved. The staff may have even turned away paying customers because they had the space set aside for a party that never arrived. No shows can really disrupt service, no matter how big a name the restaurant, or the chef, may be.