No-shows can be devastating for independent restaurants, from casual neighbourhood eateries to top Michelin spots. These businesses run on tight margins and even a couple of empty tables can have huge financial implications. It’s why some restaurants use pre-paid ticketing systems and has even led, in Australia, to an online reservations site drawing up a blacklist of persistent offenders.
However, a restaurant in the UK has gone one step further, by naming and shaming its no-shows on social media.
As The Mirror reports, The Cauldron Restaurant in Bristol named named and shamed four tables of two that failed to show on Valentine’s Day via Twitter, listing their reasons for not coming, including two out and out no-shows, a lat cancellation and one pair who said they had forgot to cancel.
Codd X 2 @ 7pm NO SHOW
Gragham X 2 @ 7:15pm LAST MINUTE CANCEL
Peters X 2 8pm NO SHOW
Barkley X 2 8:30 "FORGOT TO CANCEL"
— The Cauldron Restaurant (@TheCauldronRest) February 15, 2018
The Tweet has received support from fellow restaurateurs and the public alike, with nearby restaurants sharing their experiences too, including one in Cardiff, Wales which had 16 no-shows in one night.
— Menu Gordon Jones (@MenuGordonJones) February 14, 2018
16 tables no show last night. Yes 16! On a night where you’re also giving most of your larger tables over to couples. Getting ridiculous.
Chefs had worked so hard to create new dishes with saltmarsh lamb, razor clams,oysters,octopus & red mullet.
Come & enjoy these dishes today!
— Bar 44 Cardiff (@bar44cardiff) February 15, 2018
Explaining why he preferred not to take deposits, Cauldron co-owner Henry said his experience was that it tended to put diners off at smaller establishments such as his, but that the problem of no shows is “killing the industry.”
Matt Orlando of Copenhagen’s Amass restaurant has previously penned an open letter on the subject, asking, logically: “Would you schedule a doctor’s appointment and not show up? Would you schedule a hair appointment and not show up? Would you book a meeting with your bank advisor and not show up? Then why would you book a table at a restaurant and not show up?” And in Montreal back in 2014, a Twitter account was started to name and shame no-shows in the city.
What do you think, did The Cauldron go too far? What's the solution to the problem? Let us know over on our Facebook page.