After much internal discussion and agonising over this with our team in light of the current climate, we have decided in the end that taking bookings at Milsoms would create more problems than it would solve. So, there will be no change to our policy as this has been a key pillar of our success over the last twenty years.
Spontaneity, informality and a lack of rules are in our DNA and we believe if we start taking bookings it will fundamentally change the way our customers treat the restaurant. At Le Talbooth, where we do take bookings, we are often let down by late cancellations, no shows or guests arriving at the wrong time, they handle this because it’s factored into the price and low volume way they work, but Milsoms is different and we need to retain that.
Explaining to regular guests who have been turning up on spec for 20 years that they can’t sit at a table because someone else has booked it, is just not a conversation I want to be having although I accept there will be those who are equally annoyed at being turned away when we are full. Ultimately, we are in a no-win situation but I hope, having been closed for nearly 4 months, you will be understanding of the difficult position we are in and will determine to come back on another less busy occasion.
Government guidelines do mean that there is a requirement for us to control/restrict numbers, so at these peak times one of our team will be stationed at the top of the drive to inform guests when we are full. They will give you information on wait times and will operate a list for guests who might wish to return at a later point. This is really no different than has been happening in supermarkets for months and now in the retail sector. I accept that it is far from ideal but until things change it will sadly have to be the way we work.
Please remember that we are open for all day dining, 7 days a week, so the number of times when demand causes this problem is actually very small. The other bit of good news is that we can now seat more people outside having extended the covered area on the terrace, just remember to dress accordingly.
I look forward to welcoming you back to Milsoms soon.