Reservation and Payment Information
This info was last updated September 3, 2012.
This page describes the process and policies for reservations at Lazy Bear dinners, which we hold about two weekends per month, usually on a consecutive Friday and Saturday. We are not open except on those sporadic weekends, and you can never make same-day reservations. Instead, we take reservations online only when we open them up, which we usually do about two weeks in advance of the dinners via the process described below.
Sometimes we do unusual events in which the process differs from what is described below. If that's the case, any announcements about those events will describe the process. But for most events, here's how it works:
Reservations Via Lottery
We get a lot of requests for the small number of spots we usually offer per weekend--enough to fill all the seats many, many times over. We used to give people reservations first-come, first-served, but it mostly meant that whoever woke up earliest got the spots. So, we started randomizing the process of assigning reservations.
When reservations open up, we send an email to our mailing list, post it on our Twitter feed, and post it on the blog. We typically open up reservation requests for a two or three-day period about one and a half or two weeks before the events. As an example, we did dinners on January 27 and 28, 2012. We accepted reservation requests from Tuesday, January 10 through Thursday, January 12.
The requests are submitted via the Reservation Request Form. The form will only be available when reservations are open. If you want a reservation, request one when reservations are open by filling out and submitting that form. You won't get an email confirmation that we have received the form, but once the form is submitted it will give you an in-browser confirmation message on the form page. After submitting that request you do not have a reservation! You have only requested a reservation, which may later be offered if your group comes up in the lottery. Note that we do give a slightly higher probability to diners who have never been to Lazy Bear, and to those who were waitlisted for the previous events. Please submit only one request per party.
We can often accommodate many dietary restrictions, but please understand that we are a tiny restaurant serving a fixed menu to very few people. We don't have extra items on hand to substitute, so accommodating restrictions means making things especially for a particular diner. We usually send out and post a tentative menu when we announce dinners, and you can assume that we won't be able to accommodate you if there are several things on the menu that you don't eat. We do occasionally put on dinners that are entirely vegetarian and where we can accommodate nearly any restrictions, but other than those events we generally can't accommodate vegetarians or vegans. We can sometimes accommodate pescatarians, or those who don't eat fish, but it varies.
Otherwise, we generally can accommodate allergies or restrictions that might require substituting one course at a particular dinner. However, we need you to be extremely detailed and exhaustive when you fill out your reservation request. If we receive reservation requests with dietary restrictions that would require follow-up questions (which is the case about 75% of the time), the most likely scenario is that they simply get skipped over in favor of diners with no dietary restrictions, or diners who have described their dietary restrictions adequately. When in doubt, list things and categories of things that you can't eat, as well as related categories that you can eat. Specify whether your allergy or intolerance is still a problem if the items are fully cooked, and if they are still a problem if the items are infused in something and then completely strained out. If you have a nut allergy, at least distinguish between groundnuts, tree nuts, and drupes, or list specific nuts that are a problem. 99% of people with nut allergies can still have refined nut oils, so please tell us whether that is the case. Also, if you have an allergy (as opposed to an intolerance or other restriction), please let us know how severe.
Reservation Offers and Confirmation Deposit
Once the reservation period has closed, we will run the random lottery and assign the first group of reservations. We will email the parties who initially have gotten in, offering each a reservation, and asking for each to confirm the reservation by paying a deposit equal in value to one diner's price at the dinner. They can pay that deposit over the phone via credit card (processed through Square), or we may sometimes offer an alternate method (e.g. Brown Paper Tickets), which we'll let them know about when they are being offered the reservation. Once we have received a party's confirmation deposit, we will send them an email with the location of the event and any other details they need to know.
If you receive an email offering you a reservation, and it turns out that you can no longer attend, please at least respond and let us know you can't attend so that we can offer the reservation to a party on the waiting list.
If a party cancels its reservation more than one week (168 hours) prior to the event, we will refund their deposit. If they cancel later than that, they will forfeit their deposit.
Waitlists for Events
Any party who doesn't get in initially will automatically go on that event's waitlist. As seats open up (and lots of them always do) we will continue to contact those on the waitlist on a rolling basis in order to offer them reservations, right up until the day of a dinner. However, you still won't hear from us unless and until you are being offered a reservation. We don't send out an email saying, "Sorry, you didn't get in," because there is never a point at which there's no chance you'll be offered a reservation if someone cancels. Please don't email us just to ask if you got in. If you haven't received an email saying you got in, and you've checked your spam folder as well, then you didn't get in. But if you don't get in, take heart! You'll get a slight boost in priority for the next events!
Reservation offers will come from firstname.lastname@example.org, so you should add that address to your address book to ensure the email gets through. If we call you about open spots, the phone call will usually come from David's phone, (415)613-3373, so you should add that number to your phone as well. Every weekend there are at least a dozen parties who miss out on the chance to attend because they don't answer their phone when we call.
Payment at the Event
At the end of the meal, each party will receive a bill for the balance. They can pay the balance and tip via cash, or we can process it via credit card (again, processed by Square).
Questions and contact