The pain of no-shows

It’s a busy Saturday night. Your 30-seater restaurant is fully booked. You’re having to turn away walk-in customers, reluctantly, as you don’t have any free space.

But where’s that table of 12 booked for 7.30pm? They’re 15 minutes late.

You give them a call – straight to answer-phone. You get that familiar sinking feeling. You try texting – no joy. You send them an email. Nothing.

How long do you wait before trying to resell the space?

What if they are stuck in traffic, or in an area with no phone reception? What if they eventually turn up and you have given their table away?

No-shows are the bane of any restaurateur’s life – it’s financially ruinous and completely demoralising. And it seems to be a problem that’s getting worse.

According to this article some customers think it’s OK to make multiple bookings and then decide at the last minute where to go.

Without cancelling the other bookings they have made. Without giving a thought to those whose livelihoods depend on their custom.

This week I’ve had two big no-shows – a table of 12 and a table of 8. Both at weekends when I could have easily filled the space with other customers.

If you have made a booking and can no longer make it – please, please, PLEASE – phone up and let the restaurant know (don’t email if it’s last-minute – we are busy serving customers, not monitoring emails!).

The person on the end of the phone will be disappointed – but at least they will now have a chance of filling the space and keeping their business on track.

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