If the number of people in your party changes last minute, let the restaurant know in advance. The Maitre’d or host may have a specific table planned for your party and unexpectedly arriving with more or less people may throw that plan out of whack. Don’t just assume that the restaurant will have a larger table to accommodate your augmented group. Showing up with less people, on the other hand, may result in the restaurant wasting precious real estate by holding a larger table for you than is needed. It isn’t as easy as you think to get all parties seated on-time and situated in the appropriate tables over the course of a given evening. Throwing a wrench in our plan could end up adversely affecting your experience and/or sabotage some other innocent party’s. It isn’t fair that another group’s experience should suffer because of your lack of consideration. Don’t expect to be seated incompletely either. Make sure your party arrives together or as close to the same time as possible. Seating incomplete parties can disrupt fluid service and most busy restaurants, worried about the potential domino effect, won’t do it.
As a diner, this irks me. I could be sitting at my table, ordering drinks and probably more food than I would otherwise. Instead, you have my empty reserved table there mocking me, I’m standing around waiting and I making me more and more hangry.