Toronto restaurants don’t want you to have their phone number anymore

When it comes to restaurants in Toronto these days, there are plenty that want you to lose their number.

It may seem counter-intuitive: surely on an ideal day at a restaurant, the phone rings non-stop with people looking to book well in advance.

For a long time, the stereotypical image of the hippest restaurant in town is one where hosts refuse reservations just to cultivate mystique, like a nightclub leaving a long line to form outside.

However, the restaurant industry continues to examine itself and determine what is best for its workers, and is also entering the modern world of social media. Items like this make less and less necessary phone numbers.

Popular wine bar Paris Paris technically has a phone number, but doesn’t list it on its website or Google directory because calling is too much of a hassle for them.

“We only have the phone to be able to communicate with customers who already have a reservation, but our phone is always ringing all the time and we would be unable to handle the volume if we were using it as our primary mode of communication,” Jonathan said. Poon, owner of Paris Paris. tells blogTO.

“Even with a full-time employee answering the phone eight hours a day, that wouldn’t be enough.”

Like just about every other restaurant, waves of closures and other related factors have left Paris Paris chronically understaffed, and spending hours answering phones and checking voicemails just isn’t a valid task for a member of the team.

The restaurant actually gets a lot of complaints about not having a phone number listed, but they stand firm on how they do things.

“We prefer customers to email us because it’s easier for both parties to refer and more manageable than voicemail,” Poon says.

“Guests often have requests that will require the intervention of our reservations manager and it’s just easier to have all the details in an email.”

The Onnki Donburi rice bowl restaurant also receives many questions about not having a phone number listed, but also does not use a phone system due to efficiency issues.

“I know most restaurants use the phone, and it’s classic and necessary. And some customers prefer to order over the phone, and we’ve had a lot of inquiries about that as well,” said Terry Lee, co-founder of ‘Onnki Donburi, at blogTO.

“Our priority is to reduce inefficiencies as much as possible and provide faster and more accurate service to our customers.”

Lee echoes Poon’s issues with understaffing when it comes to the efficiency of having staff available to answer and return calls.

“We have a limited staff and they’re human, they can’t do everything perfectly,” says Lee.

“So we’re accepting all Instagram DM and email inquiries now. And our customers prefer that too, because we’re focused on responding online, so we can do it faster and better.”

A rep for Sari NOT Sari, a snack bar in the space that once housed The Shop, told blogTO that they might get a phone number in the future, but that just doesn’t work. sense to have one now.

“It’s a small business and we don’t have the staff to adequately maintain any other form of communication,” the rep told blogTO.

Main photo by

Hector Vasquez in Onnki Donburi

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