NO-SHOWS at restaurants, in the age of Covid-19, are no joke. Picture: Pexels
NO-SHOWS at restaurants, in the age of Covid-19, are no joke. Picture: Pexels

Why it matters if you don't show up for a restaurant you've booked in the time of Covid-19

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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No-shows at restaurants, in the age of Covid-19, are no joke. They are a massive and unwelcomed problem.

As one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, the financial impact of no-shows is one the restaurant sector can ill-afford right now. Once a few bookings fail to materialise, restaurants are almost certainly looking at a loss.

No-shows are nothing new. It is why so many restaurants these days take card details, deposits, or even the cost of the meal in advance. Though they are a problem for restaurants everywhere, no-shows are especially troublesome in fine dining restaurants.

As countries come out of the strict lockdowns imposed by governments to handle the pandemic, restaurant owners have a simple plea for diners: honour your bookings. A no-show reservation can greatly affect a restaurant's daily revenue, especially during this day and age.

Restaurant margins are thin, and the unnecessary costs behind a no-show can range from labour costs for over-staffing employees, to food waste and costs. For instance, restaurants use their booking information to schedule staff and ensure that they have enough stock to meet their orders.

When you, as a diner, fail to arrive for your allocated booking, it is almost impossible for a restaurant to resell that table without notice.

Restaurant owners are not the only ones who will suffer financially due to a no-show – the impact trickles down to suppliers, too. If they are not using the ingredients they have in the house, they are not going to order more.

This will affect someone else’s needs. Front-of-the-house staff also deal with the fallout, too. When a larger group does not show up, a server will make half of what they would have made on that shift.

So what can diners do?

At a time when restaurants are facing such hard times and many diners want to support their favourites to help ensure their survival, it is easy to overlook the basics.

Over the past few months, we have been seeing anonymous diners leaving huge tips at their favourite restaurants, to help support the industry in the trying times of Covid-19, but even the basic stuff can go a long way.

Remember that a restaurant is a business run by human beings with feelings. Do not be the person who stands someone up.

I understand emergencies can happen, but have the decency to let the restaurant know that you will no longer be coming in. If you cannot show up, cancel that reservation, and do it the minute you know you are not going to make it.

This shows that you respect the fact that they are trying to operate as a business, as best as they can. At a time like this, restaurants need all the help they can get.

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