The Professional Tip For Getting The Reservation You Really Want

Certain restaurant reservations are tough to score. We're talking months-long wait times and strategic plans to get online when new reservations are released. Yet we also know that life happens, and whether you're wanting to impress a special someone or celebrate a sudden raise, scoring the perfect dinner reservation can help usher in atmospheres of merriment and revelry. For those moments in which you're yearning to find yourself sitting at a table coveted by other dinner guests, use tips from an industry professional. 

As told to Tasting Table, New York City maître d' Michael Cecchi-Azzolina has seen his fair share of diners vying for service in busy restaurants. Granted, if you've found yourself asking for a seat at a popular restaurant during a busy night, the likelihood of slipping through the cracks of pre-made reservations might be narrow, but strange things do happen — particularly in hospitality.

First and foremost, be kind when dealing with the staff of the restaurant and keep a good attitude as you set about your negotiations. Ask to speak with the maître d' and request them by their name. Knowing the name of the maître d' can make a big difference in whether you find yourself at a table with a napkin on your lap or walking back into the street. Once you've asked for the maître d', proceed to inquire whether there is anything that could be done to accommodate your last-minute dining requests.

Delivery matters

Whether a no-show or a cancellation, your kindness and respect shown to those working can serve you well should any dining availabilities arise. Tips never hurt, either, Cecchi-Azzolina admits, and you may want to arrive to the restaurant prepared with cash in hand. "If you talk to that person at the door and give that person a $100 bill or a $20 or a $50, if they think they could make it work, that will absolutely help you," he explains. If a restaurant is slammed, however, know that a restaurant's team has little wiggle room for demanding — and tipping — patrons. 

"But if they [the customers] make it worth your while and they're nice about it and you could possibly do it, it will absolutely help," Cecchi-Azzolina notes when describing the impact a tip can have on a server. Plus, the team at the restaurant will be more likely to remember you the next time you visit the establishment, so it will be a win all around, regardless of whether you're able to slide into an empty chair and eat.