Restaurant no-shows are on the rise, hitting businesses in the purse strings. In fact, latest figures from Barclays estimate that restaurants lose an average of £89 per diner for each last-minute cancellation or no-show. For a table of 6, that can amount to over £500 lost due to one single no-show.

But, no-shows aren’t all about the cost. They can also leave you having to turn away would-be diners, only for a table not to show, losing out on new, potentially returning custom. Likewise, no shows can disrupt staffing levels and leave you over-resourced or even having to send staff home early, disgruntling your employees at the last minute.

While we are huge advocates for diner etiquette leading the way in reducing no-shows with early cancellations, there are things restaurants can do to try and cut back on what is fast becoming a no-show endemic. Read on to see our top 5 ways to reduce restaurant no-shows so you can protect your revenue.

Take deposits

Taking deposits is a sure-fire way to reduce no-shows. If a customer has paid a small deposit for their booking, they are less likely to no-show, wishing to retain their deposit or prevent their card details from being charged. However, if the worst happens and a diner still no shows then your revenue has, to some extent, been protected. 

Powered by Stripe and full integrated with our table booking system, we allow our clients to choose whether to take a deposit at the point of booking, hold card details (it is then up to you to decide whether you will charge them if a diner no-shows) or even take fully payment at the point of booking (ideal for special events such as Christmas). 

More often than not, the majority of diners are happy to leave a deposit or their card details understanding the tough circumstances facing hospitality. 

You can find out more about our deposits system here or read about the benefits of reservation deposits in our previous article.

Booking confirmations and reminders

In our fast-paced lives it can be easy to genuinely forget a booking. This is where automated booking confirmations and reminders can help.
With our table booking system, straight after booking, diners will receive an automated booking confirmation. This can be then saved in their inbox with all the key booking information they need. Then, in the coming days or weeks, you can choose to send automated reminders to give diners a nudge about their upcoming booking.
This way, those genuine mistakes can be prevented. Plus, it is harder to rudely no-show when you’ve had direct communication from the venue.

Communicate with your customers

We’ve already discussed the importance of automated customer communication in the form of booking confirmations and reminders, but now’s the time to get a bit more personal. 

In most instances, diners do not realise the impact a no-show can have on your business. In some cases, they may not even realise it has had any effect. Therefore, it can be worthwhile educating your diners to help reduce the chance of no-shows. This can range from adding a brief line on your booking confirmation or reminder about the importance of cancelling early, or it could be a social post or email detailing the impact no-shows have had on your business, and your staff, of late. As the saying goes, people buy from people so maybe diners need to see the real faces behind their booking to start a positive change. This type of communication can also spark new diners to book after hearing how you have been let down by previous diners.

In some cases, we’ve heard of restaurants calling no-showers, especially repeat ones, to explain the detrimental effect of no-showing – this one depends on how brave you want to be!

communicate with your customers

Help customers to cancel

This one may seem to go against our aim, but hear us out. According to Barclays, one in five (19%) of diners don’t cancel as they feel too awkward speaking to someone over the phone. Therefore, by providing an easily accessible cancellation link on your booking confirmations or reminders you are removing this awkwardness and leaving diners with no excuse but to cancel. Yes, this may increase cancellations. But, having knowledge of a change of plans ahead of time is way better than a no-show. This way, you have the option of re-booking the table or contacting diners on your waiting list.

Want to reduce no shows for good?

Our table booking system comes with the above features built in – we even communicate the effect of no-shows with our followers on our social media! 

To see how our reservation system can help you to reduce no-shows, contact our team today.

For more information on Sugarvine Tables or to try the live system call 01253 698328 or complete the form below:

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