Woman talking(l+r), Reserved table(c)

Personal Belongings/Shutterstock @meliimelons/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I don’t want to get your waitstaff sick’: Woman says restaurant demanded $100 fee to cancel reservation after she found out her roommate has COVID

‘NYC restaurant fees are more of a commitment than marriage.’


Alexandra Samuels


Posted on Jan 9, 2024   Updated on Jan 9, 2024, 4:43 pm CST

A woman went viral on TikTok after shaming a New York City-based restaurant for refusing to let her bow out of an existing reservation.

TikToker @meliimelons, who posted the video last week, recorded the clip from inside of her home. In it, she said that an unnamed restaurant wouldn’t let her cancel her reservation even though she was in contact with someone who contracted COVID-19.

“New York City restaurants have absolutely lost their mind,” @meliimelons said. She doubled down on her frustration in the accompanying video caption. “NYC restaurant fees are more of a commitment than marriage,” she wrote.

The content creator said that she made a reservation at a restaurant in Brooklyn but that her roommate, who was supposed to go to the restaurant with her, tested positive for COVID-19. @meliimelons said she called the restaurant to explain the predicament but was told she couldn’t change her reservation without paying a cancellation fee.

“I don’t want to get your waitstaff sick,” @meliimelons said. But she said the restaurant wouldn’t budge. 

“They’re like, ‘Well, we can make you another reservation, but we can’t cancel this one,'” she said. After reiterating that she likely had COVID-19, she said the restaurant encouraged her to cancel her reservation.

The problem: it cost $100 to do so.

“They’re like, ‘Well, I guess you have to pay the $100 fee. Or just come in. It’s fine,'” @meliimelons reported the restaurant staff saying.

@meliimelons said the restaurant left her with “no option[s].” So, her solution was to go to the restaurant with a mask on, order a Coke, and “walk in and walk out.” 

In the comments section, some viewers said the restaurant wasn’t wrong to impose a fee.

@meliimelons Am i insane for thinking this is insane #nyc #nycdining #nyclife #nyceats ♬ Feather sped up – 🪩💌🦋

“You just don’t eat at high end places,” one user said. “This is EXTREMELY common.”

“Nah I’m with the restaurant. If they require the fee, people know up front,” another said. “If they sky falls, they still have to pay rent.”

“This is so standard for nyc restaurants,” a third viewer wrote. 

Other commenters, however, agreed with @meliimelons and said it was ludicrous that the content creator couldn’t escape her reservation given the circumstances. 

“20+ years in NYC and have never, will never eat at a place that imposes a reservation cancellation fee,” one viewer shared. 

“Name and shame,” another encouraged. But in a follow-up video, @meliimelons said she wouldn’t expose the restaurant.

“I think you can have a conversation about something that you think is wrong—or that you would hope wouldn’t happen in more places—without putting the blame on a single place,” she said. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to @meliimelons via TikTok comment. 

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*First Published: Jan 9, 2024, 9:00 pm CST