‘Table of 10 for 7pm haven’t turned up’. It’s a phrase that can turn any restaurant manager’s stomach. But, restaurant no shows aren’t just nauseating, they can be incredibly damaging.
First off, there’s the loss of revenue that your no shows would have brought in. Then there’s the diners you’ve had to turn away because of your supposed full capacity. Add to this the extra staff you may have brought in for a fully-booked busy evening who are now surplus to requirements and may have to be sent home with reduced hours.
Although preventing restaurant no shows is largely reliant on the good table manners of diners there are some steps restaurants and bars can take to reduce no shows. Here we’re taking a look at some of the ways on online table booking system can help restaurants minimise no shows and therefore prevent such damaging losses.
Automated Booking Confirmations
When users make a booking through our online booking system they will receive an automated booking confirmation. This contains all their booking information, contact details for your restaurant and can even contain your cancellation policy if needed. It may seem like a simple method but by having all of this information delivered straight to their inbox, users are more likely to phone up and cancel rather than not turn up. Plus, a personalised booking confirmation via text or is almost like a contract between the diner and restaurant, creating a relationship between the two and forcing diner responsibility.
In our busy day to day lives it is possible that some diners simply forget about a dinner reservation until it’s too late. Therefore, sending timely booking reminders via text or email is a great way to remind diners of their exact booking details to prevent an accidental no show. Plus, as with booking confirmations, diners have all your confirmation details at hand if they do need to make a cancellation.
Meanwhile, a personalised ‘we’re looking forward to seeing you’ booking reminder from your restaurant can encourage potential no shows to attend their booking due to the restaurant-diner communication established.
Take Deposits or Payment Details
Time for a controversial method of preventing restaurants no shows….
Sadly, for some diners, all the polite reminders and confirmations in the world won’t stop them pulling a no show. However, by taking a deposit through our online booking system* at the time of booking, ensures you only take serious reservations that are more likely to turn up. Alternatively, booking systems can take customer card details and then, if they’re a no show, you can automatically charge the card.
Some restaurants worry that such measures can result in fewer bookings. However, fewer yet more reliable bookings may be a positive move. Meanwhile, many restaurant-goers are happy to pay a small refundable deposit or enter card details with the knowledge that they will turn up and that such measures support the struggling hospitality industry to stay afloat and combat losses from no shows, a point that’s especially true since celebrity chef Tom Kerridge’s recent statement over no shows.
At Sugarvine Tables, our table booking system allows you to take deposits at the time of booking or hold card details (it’s then your choice whether you charge said card in the event of a no show).
No Per Cover Charges
Ok, so this one doesn’t prevent restaurant no shows but it does help to reduce the cost of them.
With some table reservation systems there is a charge taken per cover If a table doesn’t show, your restaurant has not just lost that table’s income, but, you’ve actually paid a fee, hence losing you more money per no show. With our table booking system, there are no per cover charges. Although that doesn’t stop no shows or fill in the detrimental loss of revenue when guests don’t turn up, it does prevent excess fees that add salt to the wound of no shows.
View our full pricing here and see how much you could save versus your current table booking system using our price comparison tool.
If you’re looking prevent restaurant no shows using our table booking system could help by confirming reservations and adding the option for deposits. To find out more, please contact our team. And, to any no show culprits reading this, please make sure you attend your bookings or at the very least cancel in plenty of time. Otherwise, we could see our favourite restaurants, cafes and bars disappearing from the market.