Want a Table? Sign This Contract First

The Washington, D.C., branch of Eater today looks at Rouge 24, a new restaurant that requires diners to sign a contract as part of their reservation. It's a pretty remarkable document.

The contract stipulates that diners who cancel their reservations after 3 p.m. on the day of the meal or who show up more than 30 minutes late will have their credit cards charged for the full price of the meal. What happens if you cancel your reservation before 3 p.m. on the day of the meal? Well, from 72 hours before the meal to 3 p.m. the day of, you're still on the hook for 50 percent of the cost.

The contract also asks you to choose whether you want the sixteen- or twenty-four-course tasting menu (the only options available at Rouge 24), to list any food allergies and to refrain from using a cell phone or camera.

Although I can understand some of the reasoning behind this contract -- a complicated tasting menu demands a level of precision and an outlay of time and money on the restaurant's part that late or no-show diners can disrupt -- the contract itself seems likely to generate nothing besides terrible p.r.

Our question is simple: If the only way you could score a reservation at a restaurant where you wanted to eat would be to sign a contract like this one, would you?

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