Think about how many of your bookings turn out to be no-shows – ten or even 20 percent? Maybe it’s even higher than that if you include last-minute cancellations that at least let you know, albeit too late to mitigate.
If you can’t fill that table, you lose money – and with margins and overheads being squeezed more than ever, you can’t afford to.
So should you ask for a deposit when taking a booking?
Advantages of taking deposits for table bookings
Some of the advantages of taking deposits for table bookings include:
- Increasing the likelihood of guests showing up or at least cancelling in good time
- A smaller bill for the customer on the night as the pre-payment counts towards their final total
- Peace of mind for both you and the customer that the booking is secure
Cancellations are an unavoidable part of working in hospitality, no matter how carefully your guests plan. Unfortunately, unexpected events can always occur and affect bookings made in advance.
But when that happens, it’s important customers know what to expect (and that you don’t miss out on revenue completely). You can read more benefits of taking deposits for table reservations here.
How Can I Take A Deposit Up-Front?
There are several ways to set deposits, often depending on the type of booking made:
- Request the full amount in advance (usually used for specific events, often with a set menu)
- Take debit card details and agree to charge a set fee in the event of a no-show
- Ask for a small, non-refundable deposit per person, that will be offset against the final bill. You can either ask for everyone at all times, certain party sizes (of over 6 or more seems to be popular), certain days eg Friday, Saturday or bank holidays, or particular sessions.
You may find that asking for the full amount up front may be more readily accepted for ‘occasions’ like Christmas dinner or a bottomless brunch.
With a clearly specified time limit on cancellations you can strike the right balance between not losing income and being able to fill a vacated slot. And with cancellation fees or non refundable deposits, you’ll have the consolation of recouping some lost revenue, even if not the whole amount. All deposits are taken using Stripe so you and your customers know payments and details are held securely.
The key to avoiding any conflict in the event of a cancellation or no-show is communication.
By being transparent about potential charges and the use of a deposit as a deterrent, your customers will be aware of their liability in advance.
Reminders sent prior to the booking can also reinforce this message and discourage customer no-shows.
Ready To Try Taking Deposits With Bookings?
If you want to try and limit the amount of revenue lost to no-shows or encourage more consideration from customers, deposits could be the answer.
With a flexible table booking and management system, you don’t have to have anything in stone and can tailor settings to suit your business.
To arrange a free demonstration of deposit setting, including amounts, time limits and other features, please get in touch.