Which restaurant would you choose?

Each year, my wife & I go to Aruba for a two week vacation. We’ve been going to Aruba for nearly 20 years and love the weather, the people and relaxing own their sunny beach.

Over the years, we’ve frequented our favorite restaurants. There are many great choices. One of our friends we met in Aruba a number of years ago suggested a restaurant that he and his wife frequent. Our friends are going to be staying one of the weeks that we are and we wanted to make reservations to enjoy dinner for a few nights together.

Some restaurants get booked a head of time, We often make our reservations weeks before we actually visit. This year, two of the restaurants we requested to make a reservation for our upcoming trip replied in two very different ways.

First the good response was from a restaurant called Barefoot.

The service is always attentive, the food delicious and the view is great as it’s right on the beach. Sunsets are wonderful to watch while enjoying dinner.

Here’s their reply to our reservation request:

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  • If, for any reason, you will not be able to be here at the reserved date or time, please let us know! We are not the largest restaurant on the island, and if we hold a table for somebody who is not able to come, we must let other people down”So, please, if you cannot make it, let us know!”

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This was a great response. I can see how a restaurant that’s main customer is tourists may have a problem when people don’t show and don’t cancel in advance. Their message was honest and explained;ained their situation in a friendly way.

The other restaurant that we requested to make a reservation replied, but in a very different way.

First the good response was from a restaurant called Azzurro.

Here is their reply to our revelation request:

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Dear valued guest.
Thank you for choosing to reserve with us at Azzurro. To confirm your reservation, we respectfully ask that you read our policy and fill out the form below.

Reservation Policy

Should you arrive 10 minutes or more after your confirmed reservation time, we reserve the right to enforce our cancellation policy (as seen below) to ensure the best possible level of service to all our guests. It is essential that we are notified of any specific dietary requirements prior to your visit to ensure that we can cater for you appropriately. If you have not informed us at the point of booking, please contact the restaurant to discuss your requirements with a member of our team. Tables are allocated on the day by the restaurant team and although we will do everything we can to allocate a table in your preferred area of the dining room, we cannot always guarantee this.

Cancellation Policy

Our restaurant’s continued availability relies on reservations being honored by our customers, and adequate notice being given of any changes or cancellations. Accordingly, the following applies:

  • We reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee for any booking that is cancelled, or if numbers are reduced without prior notice.

  • For all bookings, you must notify us of a cancellation or any changes to the number of guests at least 1week prior to your booking. Please ensure this is done by email azzurro@giannisgroup.com.

  • Azzurro reserves the right to charge a cancellation fee of $35 per person for any bookings changed or cancelled within this 1 week notice period.

  • The cancellation fee reflects the cost incurred by Azzurro in terms of staffing, food, and any lost revenue as a result of turning away other potential bookings.

  • We will notify you if any cancellation fee is applied.

  • Any bookings which fail to turn up without any prior notice, will also incur a $35 per person fee.

  • Where possible, the Azzurro team will actively manage restaurant bookings by checking

    attendance with the main guests/contact we have in our reservation book.

    Reservation Confirmation

    By filling and signing this form, I am authorizing Azzurro to charge my account. I also acknowledge and fully understand the cancellation policies of the restaurant. In the event that I fail to cancel the reservation within the permitted time, I am responsible for the $35 per person charge. At the receipt of this form I understand my reservation will be confirmed.

Cardholder information all information will remain confidential

Credit card Type

Name (as stated on the Card) Credit card number Expiration Date
Security Code

I agree that I will not wave my liability for any of these charges.”

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After getting this reply, we reached out to our friends and decided to not make a reservation with Azzurro’s. The food, staff and restaurant might be great but we’ll never know, because we won’t be dining there.

I am a very easy going person, but I also know it’s my choice where to give my business and dollars to, so Azzurro has helped me make a choice to dine at one of gather competitors.

Does your business have strict, unfriendly policies that turn people away before they even become customers?

From the two examples above, the situation was the same, the difference was how the two restaurants were inviting or not.

Have someone read your fine print and policy before considering sending it out to a customer or prospect.