Restaurants to Customers: Don’t Call Us, We Won’t Call You


LOL… you don’t answer the phone (expecting me to engage in social media or an app), don’t worry as I won’t call you, nor will I visit your establishment.


Same, same, only different. I tried to find out some information from a Hertz car rental location in Sarasota Florida. I tried to call, no phone number. I called the national number, no person to be reached, just an endless phone tree of questions I didn’t need answered. So I emailed, no response. No texting option. So I canceled my reservation.
Switched to Budget and got the answer I needed from a person who answered the phone at Budget Car Rental in Sarasota. I don’t care what the business wants if it fails to satisfy what I need.
So sure. Get rid of phone access. And say goodbye to business. How much? How much can you afford to lose? Probably more than that. Applies to most businesses, be they car rentals or restaurants.


I am reminded of reading about a government agency that seemed impossible to reach by phone. A spokesperson finally admitted that they were required by law to have a listed phone number and a connected and operating phone, but nothing required them to answer it…

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Warning: paywall

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I read the story and the comments. Its clear there is an age component to this. The Ugly Baby restaurant that is profiled is one of the best Thai restaurants in NYC. Its regularly packed. The biggest surprise to me was that they even take reservations through IG. I thought it was a no reservation place. I rarely if ever make reservations by phone. If a place isn’t on Resy or OT, it practically doesn’t exist for me. The only exception to that are the places I know that don’t take reservations. So I just have to show up and wait in line. Plenty of discussions about those kinds of places too. Lots of people don’t want to go to someplace where there is no phone to call or if they have to wait in line. That’s fine. I think they will survive despite it all. I suspect that a lot of people here don’t use snap or tik tok. But don’t worry, IG is already fading as an app among the young adults which has Mark nervous about his fortune. In a few years all the users of IG will be railing on about whatever is the new modus operandi.


Possibly… but in the end we are talking about customer service and marketing. If you choose to offload those to social media, you’re either lazy, cheap, or both… and those are traits I am less than comfortable with when it comes to food.

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I think the frustration exists for both sides. The online ticket buying, entertainment community has felt this dilemma for a looooong time already. No doubt many industries deal with the challenges. No one turns down business willingly unless under extreme circumstances.

What we ALL need is patience. Gotta an app for that?


I get it, I’d rather not talk on the phone if I don’t have to and will choose businesses that I can book online over ones that I have to call. It is unfortunately exclusionary though.

Phone calls take time and labor, which is money. Messages tend to be more concise and can be dealt with at a convenient time instead of having to drop everything and answer a question about your vegan offerings or whatever. I’d love more business texting.

That said, I hate QR codes. If you can print the code for me to scan, you can print a menu :roll_eyes: :joy:


I’ve built sites for a number of organizations that had no clue (computer wise)… providing them simple text files to edit current info and menus (which are inserted into the site via PHP) allowing them to keep their site current without additional charges.

And of course you can offer your menus and timely info via PDF files as well, which are printable from virtually any application on Mac and Windows.

Forcing customers to establish social media accounts for current info is just sad.


Follow the Money

I am so with you on this. When the pandemic first started and people were afraid to touch things, made some sense. Still preferred the places that provided a simple piece of paper. Nothing fancy but its a lot easier to look at a sheet than scroll through my 3" screen. I have no issue with communicating with a restaurant by apps/texts but i don’t want to look at my itty bitty screen and scroll through pages when I have to order. If you want to avoid handing out menus, go real old school and write it out on a chalkboard. Go Joe Beef!


But social media IS marketing and customer service. It requires interaction just as phones do. And if a restaurant for some reason has no record of my reservation, I’d much rather be able to show pixel proof than try to convince them I’d spoken to someone on the phone.


Of course it is, but that doesn’t mean that folks who avail themselves of it solely aren’t lazy and/or cheap. If you don’t have the time to answer the phone, who’s to say you’ll find any to keep your SM sites up to date.

Case in point… Last Summer our entire town (and several neighboring ones as well) were completely shut down and evacuated for weeks due to the CalDor fire. In making the decision on when to return home, one important factor was being able to shop for food. No sites (SM or otherwise) were updated to indicate being open for business. In fact, the local Safeway site continued to indicate they were closed due to the fire at least a week or two after evacuations were lifted and they were actually open.

How did I find out they were open? I “called” them.

I have a fair amount of experience as to when my web clients take the time/expense to update their sites/feeds, and unfortunately way too much info (much of it important to customers) falls through the cracks. So while an online presence is definitely a valid (even recommended) tool, making it your only one (especially for a local customer base) is IMHO lazy, cheap, stupid, or just careless.

And then of course there are the “many” folks that don’t want to subscribe to the online marketing machine just to have a meal in your local restaurant, regardlessly of how responsibly it may be run (and way too many aren’t).

Understood, but that’s not 100% either. It is nice to have that choice, but not having it is what I have a problem with.


Having a phone is not an indication that you aren’t lazy and/or cheap. I would much rather send an email or a DM than be kept on hold or leave a voicemail that never gets returned. And finding out whether your grocery store is open after an emergency is a very different matter than making a restaurant reservation - I’m guessing the grocery stores had bigger fish to fry than updating their websites.

I don’t buy this at all. I think it’s a small (albeit loud) and shrinking percentage of the population. Not everything online is marketing. A lot of it is plain old communication. Like what we’re doing right now.

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In the end it is all about responsibility, right? If they won’t take/return your call, who’s to say they’ll get back to you any other way?

Let’s say you left your phone at the table you were dining at… you’d prefer to email them about it?

You and I will just have to agree to disagree here. Many of these services are free (and you can bet many more are on the way), but cost big bucks to implement. How do you think they justify that investment, let alone profit from it? This HO site is completely voluntary. Forcing the customer to offer up trackable info to servers in order to eat at your restaurant isn’t.

You don’t get dozens of robocalls or spam email every week? That’s getting better or worse? Where do you think that originates from?

In any event, we should probably take this offline if you wish to continue to discuss it… it is a pretty deep hole that has nothing to do with food.

And you can turn that right around. If they won’t respond to your email/DM, who’s to say they’ll get back to you any other way?

Well, I don’t have much of a choice, do I? Since my phone is not in my possession.

My phone is programmed to silence all calls from numbers not in my contact list. Spam emails go to my spam folder. So this is not much of a problem.

While not absolute, there is a generational/aged base bias about phones. I suspect many of the people on the phone is a plus side of the argument still have a “land based” line. Those on the other side have only a mobile/cell phone. Its all about what you are familiar with.

Call a restaurant outside of normal open hours, there’s no assurance anyone will even answer. A few weeks back, my wife had dinner with a friend at a restaurant. The next morning she couldn’t find her credit card. She tried to call the restaurant to see if she had forgotten to take the card with her after paying the bill. All she could do was leave a voicemail and wait. After not hearing for a while she then sent an email. A prompt email reply came back saying yes they had her card. Electronic communication clearly prevailed over waiting for someone to listen through recordings probably hitting skip, delete, etc versus a quick scan of an email. Looking at my work email, a glance of the previews let me focus on what is important without having to open every one. I hate voicemail. Last thing I get to. Send me email, open a chat, don’t leave me a rambling voicemail mingled with all the spam calls about my insurance running out.

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“Thank you for calling our voice mail. It lets us ignore your very important call while you attempt to navigate our menu options which have recently changed so that we can get another game of WORDLE in.”


My daughter just shared this tweet, which made me think of this thread


Some of the responses were also illustrative, but I’m not a twitterer, and don’t want to spread what might be personal information. That might be funny.