Dinosaur BBQ and why I’ll never go back

I normally don’t gripe about restaurants and their policies on my blog.  I work in sales and understand that negative experiences are usually only occur because of something that happened by accident.  I’m very forgiving and considerate when I go out to eat at restaurants if something isn’t 100% up to par. I really understand that frequently if a negative experience happens, its usually beyond the waitress or hostesses’ control.

I would also like to state for the record, I have eaten a good meal at Dinosaur BBQ during the only other time I’ve been there and the waitress I had was very pleasant.  I also will acknowledge that what has caused me to be upset is beyond the hostesses’ control and really is more a poor policy of the Dinosaur BBQ.


The last time and only other time I visited Dinosaur BBQ was on a Sunday around 4PM.  It wasn’t that busy and we did not have to wait for a table.  I noticed a sign outside the restaurant that said you couldn’t make reservations unless you had a party of 6 or more which I thought made sense.  I knew of many restaurants that wouldn’t take reservations because of the volume of customers they always had and I completely understood why.

The food was good during that visit, our waitress was pleasant, and my parents and I decided we would probably be back within the next two months.

This morning before I left for work, my parents said they wanted to go back to Dinosaur for dinner tonight.  I would get home at 4:30 from work and I figured if we got there by five, the wait time wouldn’t be that bad.  I never checked the website to see if they took reservations, because from what I saw on the outside sign, they only took reservations if you had 6 or more people.

We arrived at the restaurant at 5:05 PM and they said it would probably be about a 35 minute wait.  I wasn’t upset or neither were my parents, we realized it was Saturday and it was a popular restaurant so we would have to wait.  We shared a beer from the bar and the place began to get more busy.  However, after about 20 minutes we realized that people who had gotten there after us that had less than 6 people in their dining party continued to be seated before us.  Around 5:30PM, my mother went up and asked where we were on the list.  The woman said we were coming up and had another ten to fifteen minutes.  I was getting a little impatient, but realized it was busy.

However, people who came in after us with less than six people continued to be seated within five to ten minutes of getting in.  My mother went ask to find out what was going on and the hostess informed us of a call-in policy where you could call in thirty minutes before you arrived to be put at the front of the list.

My parents and I were really upset.  I didn’t see anything written anywhere in the restaurant about this policy and we had been there almost forty minutes.  We ended up leaving because at 5:43, we still had not been seated.  After getting home, I did go and check their website.  It stated the call-in policy, but I still found the policy ridiculous.  To me, the call-in policy is basically the same thing as a reservation but you just have to wait an extra five minutes.  Had I really been aware of this policy, I would have done this, but I still think that the restaurant should just have a “we take reservations for everyone” or “no reservations under six people”.  Why should I have to wait for 50 minutes when someone called in the car driving over to put their name ahead of me on the list.

I know this might sound irrational to a lot of people, but I was really upset.  I will admit I did leave the restaurant so infuriated, I did not check the sign again outside to see if it said anything about this policy.  I really do believe I would have remembered if it had when I read it the first time.

I don’t fault the hostess for not seating us earlier, she was only following the restaurant’s policy.  I don’t think I should have to check the website to know this policy, and I just don’t think its right that because I didn’t call on my way to the restaurant to put my name at the beginning of the list that I was not seated for fifty minutes.

I have nothing negative to say about the food, but I can honestly say I will probably never go there again.  I find that there is no logical reasoning to this policy and that a person who went there on a whim would have no idea about this call-in policy.

I don’t expect compensation, I don’t expect a free meal, I just expect that I should be seated before someone else who arrives after me at a restaurant when a restaurant says it doesn’t take reservations for under parties of six.


About Emily

musings of a twenty-something.
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4 Responses to Dinosaur BBQ and why I’ll never go back

  1. Shannon says:

    Do you live around Albany/Troy? We went to Dinosaur’s this past weekend and waited FOREVER. They gave us one of those pager things and it never went off. They said 20-25 minutes but we waited around 40 minutes (not to mention with THREE kids under the age of 3).

  2. Dee says:

    Outback Steakhouse in Maryland has the same policy…learned it the hard way. Don ‘t give up on the Dinosaur……………

  3. In my mind, the policy should be that call-ahead puts you on the list right then, where the list is. So if 8 other parties are waiting for tables (or have called ahead) when you call, you’re number 9 and your table will likely be ready for you (or your wait will be shortened) when you get there. Letting everyone call ahead and jump over the people who have been sitting there waiting is BS and a poor way to treat some of your customers. If you walked in the door at 5 and someone called at 5:15, no freaking way should they get seated before you.

    Btw, found your blog by looking for the Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread recipe — just made it using Crockpot Buffalo Chicken I’d frozen a couple of months ago and it was fast, easy and yummy.

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