There are many things to enjoy about going out for a nice meal at a restaurant. This includes being able to take our time and relax while dining. It’s enjoyable for those who are eating but the restaurant may not appreciate it, because it takes longer for them to turn your table over. One restaurant came up with a solution: charging a fee if you take too long to eat.
In San Francisco, the Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar at the Fairmont Hotel is now charging $30 extra per patron when the table was occupied more than 90 minutes. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, that is on top of the $50 minimum required if you wish to dine at their restaurant.
As of yet, it’s not fully understood how this rule will be enforced. Perhaps a timer will be started when you sit at the table. It is also not known if you’re going to be charged immediately when the 90 minutes arrive or if a grace period may be available. What if it’s a problem with the kitchen? The questions are endless.
There seems to be a good reason why the restaurant is moving forward with this decision. During the four-day annual J.P. Morgan healthcare conference, the demand for food is at a very high level. It seems as if that conference is taking place this week and it is one of the biggest conventions in San Francisco. They charge extra for ‘congestive pricing’, similar to the way that peak travel time is more expensive for travel.
It seems reasonable but not everybody is happy with the decision. One executive is even having breakfast at his office after making a reservation. They let him know that there was a “food & beverage minimum of $50 per person,” plus an 8.5% tax for reservations and an 18% service charge. The note also included the detail, “reservations are for a 90 minute period with a rental of $30/person (+8.5 percent tax) for each additional hour.”
“It’s not a new policy, and it is only for the three days of the convention,” Fairmont General Manager Paul Tormey told the San Francisco Chronicle: “So we have a minimum spending rule and a time frame, otherwise they linger and tie up the tables turning the restaurant into a big meeting room and the servers and our other customers would suffer…It’s all about supply and demand.”