Why do some restaurants require reservations and others do not?
There are a number of pros and cons and as you will see, no perfect solution to reconcile them. For our immediate purposes I’m dichotomizing restaurants between the ones that only take reservations and the ones that never do. The latter group serves people on a first-come-first-serve basis and begins a waiting list when every table is seated. Let’s begin by discussing some of the pros of taking reservations.
As my prefatory anecdote about Frasier suggests, a “reservations required” policy imbibes a restaurant with an air of cachet. Indeed, generally speaking, the more preeminent the establishment, the more likely they are to insist on reservations. Restaurants seeking distinction will mandate reservations, not merely for reputation or perception, but to cater to a more affluent demographic. Much like Frasier and his brother, a reservations-required-policy attracts wealthy customers, simply from the sense of exclusivity that reservations engender. While the reservations protocol is but one minor facet out of many that can elevate an eatery, it would certainly seem discordant for a luxurious restaurant to not take reservations.