“Can we sit at THAT table?” or Answers to the FAQ Our Hosts Hear
After over 25 years in the business, we’ve learned that seating tables effectively and efficiently involves
strategies to keep both guests and servers happy, as well as complex problem-solving, like when a table for 4 suddenly turns into a table for 7, so we’ve dealt with these questions a hundred times. Here’s a snapshot of the FAQs our hosts answer on a nightly basis:

If you’re a walk-in and are asked to wait, know that the short answer is “yes.” The long answer is: “there’s no way to know.” If our hosts had a crystal ball to accurately predict the exact number of minutes it would take for a table to become available, they would use it–we’re still waiting for that upgrade from OpenTable! The wait time we give guests is the host’s best guess based on knowing the status of our tables (which table has dessert? Is there a table where the check been dropped, but now people are lingering over coffee? How many people are scheduled in the next 15-30 minutes, etc.). Lots of factors are at play, all involving people, which can make even an educated guess unpredictable.

Sometimes the wait can be either longer or shorter than estimated. That doesn’t mean the host is trying to mess with your evening. It means that things have changed in the dining room. Maybe a large party canceled at the last minute, making room for your party (and other parties) who are waiting. Or maybe eventgoers from an event upstairs in our banquet room filled up the dining room and now it looks like they’ve settled in for the duration. A shift at a restaurant is always unpredictable. If your wait time is inching past the host’s estimate, just check in with them for an update.

We’ve all walked into a restaurant without a reservation and been told there’s a fifteen-minute wait when we can see an empty table or two, as if the host didn’t realize that fact. But the host not only knows that that table is empty, but why it’s empty. Most likely the table is already reserved. Or, if it’s not reserved, the host is making sure a server isn’t seated with four tables at once (never a good thing), or she’s carefully balancing the total number of tables between servers, trying to evenly distribute them (the host will hear about it if one server got 12 tables, and another only got 4). Making a reservation instead of walking in takes all these factors out of the equation from the get-go.

4. CAN WE MOVE TO THAT TABLE? (every host’s favorite question!)
Hosts don’t select your table at random. When you reserve a table, let us know if you have a seating
preference (some of our guests have it down to the table number!). We’ll do our best to accommodate, but sometimes every table in your favorite section was reserved before you made your reservation. When you’re being shown to your table, and it’s not that cozy booth you hoped for, there’s no harm in asking “can we be seated there instead?” (nicely, of course). If it’s a slow night, odds are the host can move you, just be understanding if they say no. She’s basing where you sit on the number of seats at that table, (i.e., trying not to seat two people at a four-top), as well as thinking ahead to reservations still to come.

If you thought hosts were just the “pretty face” of the restaurant business, think again. Making both guests and servers happy while keeping the flow of tables smooth throughout the night are skills that require diplomacy, math skills, along with a dash of psychic ability!

It’s easy to make a reservation at Richard’s. The OpenTable link is on each page of our website: richardsboise.com. You can indicate your table preferences, if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, need a quiet table for a business meeting, etc. Or call the restaurant at 208-472-1463 and talk to a live person. Either way, a reservation will help our hosts start your evening off in the best possible way!