Frustrating Dining Note: Kanki Edition

My son wanted to go to Kanki for his birthday dinner, which is a pretty normal request for a teenager. So I called the Crabtree Mall location and made reservations for the 9 of us, including additional friends and family. The woman on the other line informed me that they would not seat us until all 9 of us were there, and if our group was not fully assembled within 15 minutes of our slotted time, we’d lose our reservation. Ouch! But I understand, as Kanki is busy and their method of cooking really does require everyone to be seated at once. I can accept that.

So, at our reservation time, we’re missing one person, but he shows up 5 minutes later. I then go to the hostess’ desk and inform her, “Reservations for McCord, please. Our entire party is here” Her response? She looks at her reservations list, looks up at me, and then hands me The Beeper. “It’ll be a few minutes, sir, while we find you a table.”

Huh? Excuse me? There’s a bunch of walk-ins with beepers around me. There are a handful of tables available. And now we just take our place in the queue and wait our turn? Of course, my 7 year old says, “But I thought we had reservations, Daddy?” It’s here where I try not to act like a complete jerk that I can sometimes be. I tell my kids that we’ll just have to wait and acting rudely will only make it worse. And then we wait, as other large groups with beepers (and they were walk-ins) are seated before us. We only had to wait ten minutes or so before we were led to our table, but this situation truly perplexed us. Were these actual reservations, or was this just a method to be placed in line with all the walk-ins? I know how reservations work at regular restaurants, but this seemed to be different, and could just be chalked up to the entire hibachi system.

As for our dinner? Everyone had a great time, as we probably had the best hibachi chef ever. So, the reservation snafu was forgotten and forgiven. Except for me.

7 Responses to Frustrating Dining Note: Kanki Edition

  1. They should really consider a ‘no reservations’ policy then. If it doesn’t work with hibachi, then scrap it.

  2. detlef says:

    To be honest, I think you’re making something out of nothing. Like you said, you waited only 10 minutes. My guess is, had you not called, that wait would have been much longer, so your reservation likely did help your cause.

    There are a ton of variables in play. I’d imagine some specific to the type of thing they do. Perhaps those tables were not occupied but the hibachi guy was not ready yet.

    All I know, is that if I ever get seen within ten minutes of any appointment I make with a doctor, chiropractor, or any other professional, I consider myself fortunate. Hell, if the guy scheduled to fix my dishwasher shows up even a half hour after he’s supposed to, I consider that on-time.

    For some reason, people hold restaurant reservations to mean more than any other. I find it baffling, actually. Especially considering that 9 times out of 10, if a table is late for a reservation, it is because somebody is camping.

    A restaurant should not so ambitiously book it’s dining room so as to let one table of campers cause a major problem in seating it’s second or third turn. However, if a small place like mine is too careful, we can lose a lot of money because doing so runs the risk of having empty tables sit on a busy night.

    Now, Kanki certainly doesn’t fit into the “small place” category but none the less…

    Frankly, I’m more surprised that you liked the food. My only trip there (Durham location) was horrid. Copious amounts of oily grey meat and rice. Yum.

  3. Varmint says:

    Oh, I’m completely overreacting, Charlie, but part of it was because the people were on the borderline of being rude when they reminded us two times when making the reservations that our entire party had to be there before we would be seated, and if we were 15 minutes late, our reservations would be forfeited. In the end, we were seated exactly 16 minutes after our reservation time (as our last person was a few minutes late). If they’re going to be so particular about their time rules, it just surprised me that they would be as dogmatic about time for us, but then they get to be oppositely casual.

    If they were nicer on the phone, and when we arrived, I might have not written anything about it. But they weren’t.

    And as for saying I liked the food, I think you mis-interpreted my comment about the chef. He was very entertaining and made it an enjoyable experience. The food is exactly the way it is every time — bland, dumbed-down hibachi stuff. But when your kid wants to go there for his birthday dinner, you just sit back and enjoy the shtick.

  4. detlef says:

    Good point about the phone call. That does seem a bit odd.

  5. Jonny says:

    Mr. Varmint,

    You have every right to be miffed. If a company offers you something, they should deliver on it. If they aren’t going to honor their reservations policies, then they should abandon them. Kanki is a fabulous place, so I am glad to hear it all worked out. On another note, Moe’s does something similarly aggravating. I have called ahead twice, on two separate occasions, to put my order in, because they said they would have it ready. Not so. I went to pick up the food, and they just had the ticket there, and started to prepare the food as I waited. I know it wil be warmer, perhaps fresher, but a five minute delay will not mean my food is any less fresh.

    I don’t go to that particular Moe’s anymore, even though I like their food. You just have to find the right places to go, where you are treated well, on a consistent basis.

    Thanks for your blog!


  6. sushilover says:

    I understand how Kanki works. I was confused as to what their policy for reservations are, but once explained by the management and staff, i felt much better. They accept reservations everyday except for Saturdays. If you ate any day other than Sat. They will hold your reservation for 15 minutes. After the 15min and your party is still not complete, you don’t loose your reservations, but you end up on the waitlist, but on top of the list. This so that they can get other people who are waiting and the flow of customers can remain smooth. If they hold up the table turns because your party has stalled the business flow, they wouldnt be able to seat guests as fast and service can become a disaster for your party as well as everyone elses party. They look out for the best interest of all customers with reservations and not. If you ate on a Sat. it is a bit different. They do not accept reservations, but accept call ahead seating, where you can call 30 minutes before you arrive and you are on a call ahead list. This is not a reservation, but puts you ahead of guests by 30 min, where you actually wait 30 min less than if you did not call at all. So if you called at 630 to be put on the list, and you arrived at 7, and there was an hour and 30 min wait, you would probably only have to wait an hour or less. It just buys you time. Yea, you do have to wait for your whole party to be seated because the chef only comes out one time and if you were to wait on one person, it could hold things up, back up your server and chef which would back up the whole restaurant, and service would be a disaster. By the way, that crabtree mall location never has a wait longer than 1hr and 30 minutes, unlike the other restaurants in the mall area quoting 2-3 hours to eat…. i heard one time that cheesecake factory had a 45 min wait to get a pager only to wait 3hrs….

  7. jleekyo says:

    You should go to the Kanki off of Falls of the Neuse. They’re not as jam packed as the one at Crabtree, which is busy all times of the day.

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