This is a long story but if you don’t want to be an innocent culprit of the cancellation policy in Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, you’d better not to miss it.
This was happened in July this year. But I was only able to take time to write this after I received my bank record in September and a couple of business trips were over in the last 2 months.
On 11 July 2016, I visited Gordon Ramsey at 68 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HP ("Gordon Ramsay") with my family. Prior to our reservation for lunch at Gordon Ramsay, my family and I had been travelling in Europe. We had visited five of these restaurants for lunch before July 11th, bookings for which had all been made for 13:00. However, our reservation for Gordon Ramsay had been made for 12:00, which was most likely to be a mistake of the restaurant or my travel agent.
As a result, we arrived at Gordon Ramsay at approximately 13:15, believing that our reservation had been made for 13:00, and that a 15-minute grace period was standard for restaurants of a similar calibre. To our disappointment, we were greeted by the hostess who, slightly abashedly, informed us that our reservation had in fact been made for 12:00. And she had tried, but in vain, to contact me at my home country mobile phone number. Taking into no consideration of the discernible difference of digit numbers between my overseas mobile phone and local numbers, she failed to exercise her utmost effort to notify me about the actual reservation time.
Indeed, we were shocked by what came next. The hostess then informed us that, not only had she given our table away to another customer, she would have to charge us ￡100 per person, in accordance with Gordon Ramsay's 48-hour cancellation policy. The Manager approached us and repeated the policy to us again without any flexibility nor genuine concern about our particular circumstances.
In September, when I checked my bank record and saw that the penalty charge was collected by Gordon Ramsey, I couldn’t help but lodge a complaint to Gordon Ramey. Yet, the arrogance and stringency of Gordon Ramsey’s cancellation policy, coupled with the abruptness and poor attitude of the entire team deeply disturbed me.
It seems incomprehensible to me that, from the legal point of view, a 3-star restaurant would charge a customer with an unreasonable amount of penalty fee (￡100/head) in this case. Firstly, we did show up. Secondly, our late arrival was due to an unknown reservation mistake. Thirdly, our reserved table had been taken up already at the point of our arrival time. It is understandable that the main point of the cancellation fee is to get you to take the reservation seriously; covering losses by collecting it due to untaken table is a secondary purpose for most restaurants. However, our case, which is neither genuine no-show nor last-minute cancellation, was not justified to be penalized or allow others to take our reserved table.
I share my experience here because diners are strongly recommended to pay extra attention on such potential risk of being ripped off, if such rigid cancellation policy is still in place in Gordon Ramsey or similar restaurants like these.
Last but not least, if the first interaction is making the reservation and the second interaction is the cancellation fee, chances are there won’t be a third interaction.