St. Johnrestaurant, one of London's leading traditional English restaurants, is introducing a new charge of £20 to mitigate the financial impact of 'no-shows' after it re-opens on 29 July.
The popular restaurant, co-owned by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, is not impervious to the pressures of re-opening with reduced covers to ensure social distancing measures. People booking and failing to turn up only makes things worse for restaurants already feeling the strain of the coronavirus crisis.
Gulliver said: “It’ll be great to fire up the stoves and to put good things on the plate once more. The ‘no-shows’ experience of many already is not acceptable. One pandemic is enough! Hence the charge.”
St. John's booking reservation system reads: "The safety of our guests and our staff is paramount. In line with government guidelines, strict measures will be in place to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. To reflect the financial impact that no-shows have on us at this time, please note that we will charge £20 per head should you fail to notify us of a cancellation via email."
The idea was also endorsed by leading UK restaurant critics:
The news breaks in the same week that other British chefs such as Tom Kerridge and Paul Ainsworth have blasted no shows for being selfish, at a time when restaurants are on their knees and running at limited capacity after an extended period of lockdown.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.
As England gets ready to reopen its restaurants on 12 April for outdoor dining after the lockdowns, restaurateurs and bar owners respond to the new legislation with some exciting pop-ups and creative al fresco dining solutions. Find out more.