2The comments


I agree in principle, with one exception: hotels that had clear policy for cancellation fees within X days/hours before check-in time. Those hotels are clearly aware of the possibility of cancellation, and would charge you if you do cancel. In my opinion, it’s fair game to use those hotels as backups.However, I wouldn’t do this with any accommodations that provide meals to you, especially ryokans. Those establishments are facing the same issue as restaurants, and it would be extremely rude for me a traveller to cancel.AnaL

Well, I’m reluctant to explicitly say that’s the case, but in my own experience, yes, it’s always those clients from the US that are particularly guilty of this so it probably is a cultural thing. I’d be very interested to hear from anyone working in the restaurant trade in the US about their perspective…
AdamB

I’m American and would never dream of doing this. It’s not only disrespectful to the restaurant, but also to the person in your position who has to waste time making all these bookings. To me this sounds like entitled rich people, period. The same people who treat others “beneath them” like shit and demand special treatment wherever they go. They exist everywhere, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the US produces a special breed of the entitled elite. I hate that they’re ruining the reservation game for the rest of Americans and other foreigners, but believe me, we aren’t all that terrible! Thanks so much for this post and for the information. Hopefully after a while these restaurants will be able to reopen bookings to all nationalities, and not experience rampant abuse of the system.
SusanS


Yeah I’m American and I’ve never done this. I’m not really sure of the “type” that would, either. Is it just super common in the high-end US tourist world? Sucks that they ruin it for others.
BarbaraR

I don’t believe the answer is as simple as the “entitled elite” either because that type can be found everywhere. This thread has actually provided quite a few insightful ideas into why Americans may be culturally more liable to cancel.
DavidB

I’m American and have worked in restaurants and also enjoy dining at all levels. I also added a response to the OP but it really depends on the restaurant in the US on how they handle reservations. Certain US restaurants, usually with a pre-fixe menu only will ask for a credit card deposit to protect the chef from planning their menu. For other restaurants that are quite popular with no pre-fixe menu, reservations just secure a table and favor an organized patron. If those reservations are canceled, the restaurant has no problem supplying them to walk-in customers (if they are that good, you will usually get walk-in’s inquiring if a table is available).If there is no pre-fixed menu, what is the negative consequence to the restaurant in Japan? I would not do this as a visitor to Japan but I’m wondering what is the backlash to the restaurant? After 10 mins, just give the table up.Just to add, in the hotel industry, some hotel sites lets you cancel your booking within 24hrs for hotels all over Japan. Somehow they have accepted this function, why not restaurants? Not saying it’s right, just that culturally it’s accepted in Japan.
AdolfOS

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