Table Manners

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Tonight is Dining Out For Life, so if you dine in any one of 55 restaurants a portion of your bill will go to Nashville Cares' programs for people living with HIV/AIDS. I'd love it if you'd join me at Wild Iris.

Which brings me to this: I've been busily arranging a group of diners for the Wild Iris. It's a good thing I'm not in charge of the reservation book on a regular basis, because I clumsily stacked the dining room with a flight of 7 p.m. reservations. I can only hope the folks at the Iris can forgive my ham-handedness. But it brings up a point I'd like to discuss.

I recently got a question from a reader asking about seating protocol. She and a friend had an early reservation in a chic new hot spot, where they ordered dinner and a few drinks and were still sipping cocktails when their server asked them to please vacate their table for the next group. Needless to say, she felt a little dissed, especially while other groups were drinking cocktails, sans dinner at the adjacent tables. Is this standard operating procedure? What should happen in this type of situation?

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