Photo: Flickr / marcp_dmoz
Luxury restaurants are fighting back no-shows, reports the Journal’s Sumathi Reddy, from charging them for not cancelling in time to calling them out on Twitter.
“The impact of an empty table can be significant in an industry where average profit margins run as low as 3% to 5%,” writes Reddy. For small biz, the wasted food and lost revenue can translate to negative balance sheets.
However, penalising patrons will do little to bolster repeat business at a time when consumers are scaling back, says Gil Harel, co-founder of BiteHunter, an app that aggregates group deals. Especially if it’s a larger establishment that easily draws walk-ins.
“If the restaurant’s doing a good job, then they’ll statistically know the percentage of no-shows and walk-ins,” he tells Your Money. “They’ll know how many tables to keep open for people walking in, and whether to tell them they’ll have to wait. That’s how they compensate.”
And while Harel sympathizes with these restaurants’ frustration, he says shaming isn’t the answer.
“If the customer has an emergency and they get charged, then that customer will never come back,” he says. “That’s lost revenue forever, so it’s just not worth it.”
On the guests’ end, just be considerate and let the restaurant know ASAP if you’re not going to make it.
“Go to OpenTable.com or their site and cancel,” says Harel. It’s easier than ever, and there’s really no excuse.