A Birmingham restaurant owner has revealed more than a quarter of his bookings did not turn up in a single day as a city business body backs the No More No Shows hospitality campaign.
Jaimon George, a director at Thai restaurant Zen Metro in Cornwall Street, said there were 115 bookings in the diary for a Saturday earlier this month but 31 of those did not honour their reservation.
His comments came as the city centre’s Colmore Business Improvement District body throws its weight behind the new national campaign which is encouraging people to consider the impact of no shows on hard-hit hospitality venues.
“As a restaurant and bar in operation for more than 23 years, we have had our fair share of no-shows,” Mr George said.
“This was particularly vital after the lockdown since all hospitality venues are trying to survive and stay open.
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“We arrange staffing and prep food based on the booking levels. This level of no-shows are just not acceptable and financially viable for any businesses.”
Zen Metro has now introduced a system whereby a customer’s card details will be taken and a £10 fee charged if they fail to turn up.
“We hope this will have an impact on future no-shows,” Mr George added.
Venues such as pubs and restaurants have been allowed to reopen since July 4 but with strict social distancing and other measures in place aimed at preventing the spread of covid-19.
Some business operators have said it will be extremely difficult to turn a profit when the number of customers a venue can host is limited, a problem exacerbated even more when bookings go unfulfilled, leading to food waste and a loss of revenue.
This is made even worse when many venues have introduced a no walk-ins policy order to maintain social distancing between customers and staff.
No More No Shows was launched by hospitality recruitment agency Sixty Eight People with backing from restaurant group Gusto Italia to raise awareness of the problem in Manchester but was quickly picked up on a national scale.
Alex Tross, chairman of Colmore BID’s hospitality working group, added: “An individual customer might not think that them not turning up for a reservation will make much of a difference.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Research has found that no-shows actually cost the UK hospitality industry £16 billion a year which is further exasperated following months of lockdown.
“Due to social distancing, restaurants are already operating at a reduced capacity, making use of every space possible.
“The next few months will be critical for businesses across the sector and we are urging customers to re-think before deciding not to show up for a booking.
“We have a wealth of fantastic venues within the district that need our support more than ever. IIf no shows continue to happen, we may lose some of these venues for good.”