Restaurants No Shows

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Restaurant Insurance

Restaurants No Shows

There is enough to contend with already in 2021 without the added problem of no-shows.  Here we talk about a way to try and combat the problem.

Many restaurants are hanging in there by the skin of their teeth.  So, if that is you, you are not alone.  Another area where we are not alone is the problem of no-shows, when people book a table and then don’t turn up.  Pre-Covid that would have been bad enough, but often we’d get a chance booking or with a restaurant operating at close to full capacity we could wear the occasional empty table and lost revenue from a no-show.

Not any more, I say enough is enough and we need to try and eradicate the problem.

The easiest way is to take a non-refundable deposit from the customer when they book.  It is something that some of the big name over-subscribed restaurants do anyway and it can work for any of us.    

But, I hear you cry, then customers won’t book and we’ll lose out.  Well if they book and don’t show up then you lose anyway, plus you’ve potentially turned other customers down and ensured you have enough staff and food for the numbers expected.  Potentially, your loss is larger in the long run if they book and don’t show up than if they hadn’t booked at all.

Then, another argument is the staff are already busy it is more for them to do.  Well, look at it like this your team should already be taking a phone number with all bookings as a matter of course.  By adding a deposit system you are potentially safeguarding their jobs.  Once they get used to doing it, then it won’t be so much of a chore.

A simple system is £10 per head, which is also easy to work out when the bills are being made up at the end of the meal.  All it needs to make the system work successfully is well trained staff, invested in their jobs.

To any customers who complain then I’d say “we need to make a living, we need to pay our staff and our bills.  Our permitted numbers have decreased substantially and we would really appreciate your understanding regarding this.  Of course the deposit will be deducted from the final bill and is refundable with 48 hours notice.”  Yes, a long speech, but hopefully one when delivered right will get the message across.

Restaurant owners who have adopted this scheme in 2020 advise that no-shows are almost eradicated completely and an interesting  trend is that total spend has increased, possibly due to the psychological aspect that they are spending less at the time, having paid some of the bill in advance.

If enough restaurateurs implement this scheme or a version, then it will become the expected normal and customers will take it in their stride. 

This idea covers you against no-shows, even if they don’t turn up, you have the deposit.  For insurance cover contact https://www.cateringinsurance.co.uk/restaurant-insurance/ for specialist advice.

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