OpenTable is a great took for booking NYC restaurants. You can troll for available tables in the middle of the week and come up with a “new” restaurant idea. When traveling to NYC, it’s a great way to pre-plan your dining experience (and insure you are not eating at Applebee’s in Time Square)
How can you make Open table into your Gluten Free friend and advocate all at the same time? Use the Special Request box.
I actively use the “Special Request” box and simply write: “one diner is gluten free. please advise if this is a problem” to let the hostess know that I am gluten free. This does a few things:
1.) Warns the restaurant manager, hostess and chef in advance that I am coming in and have special needs.
2.) Offers the restaurant a chance to let me know they cannot accomodate me! This has happened a few times. A very gracious host calls and lets me know I can’t partake in their dining experience. I am GRATEFUL!! for these calls. Much better hearing this before I am across town, hungry and seated in the restaurant.
3.) Lets the restaurant know who their customer profile is and if they have special needs. Open Table is a source of data for restaurants and its much better to put this information in, right there in print.
4.) Gives the chef the opportunity to ponder if he can accomodate you. You may be the first person to ask for gluten free. Announcing it in the reservation offers them a chance to say – huh, how am I going to do that?
5.) Provides lead time to restaurants that will accommodate you. This is SO IMPORTANT at very fancy restaurants such as Per Se where they will accomodate you if they have time to plan.
When booking your reservations use Open Table’s features to your benefit. They will ease both sides of the dining conversation about your needs and what they can provide.