A Liverpool restaurant once struggling with the bane restaurateur, ‘no-shows’, has seen a big difference since changing its booking policy.
No-shows and cancellations are some of the biggest issues facing restaurants, leaving them with empty tables and out of pocket, and often sees restaurants turn away valuable custom.
Maray, which has restaurants on Bold Street, Allerton Road and the Albert Dock, called for change last year, asking customers via Twitter if they would leave their credit card details to book a table as the restaurant has seen 59 people not show up, with a further 143 cancel on the day.
After support from regular customers and other local businesses, Maray went ahead with the move inn December along with another key change, confirming via Facebook that it would be changing its booking system so that its Bold Street restaurants would only take bookings of groups over six, as no-shows and cancellations had become more frequent.
At the time, Maray wrote: “On any given Saturday service, we will have anything from 20 to 40 no shows (10-20% of our covers for the whole day). For a restaurant with only 36 seats, something needs to change.
“So from today we will be walk-in only for groups of less than six. We weighed up our options and considered implementing the same system that many other restaurants now employ – holding credit card details for all bookings and charging people for no shows.
“We thought long and hard about this option as it would cause the least disruption to our operation. But it just doesn’t feel very ‘us’. We want Maray to be a casual, fun experience, and we felt that taking credit card details for every booking would formalise and sanitise this.”
James Bates, director and co-founder of Maray, said: “We made the decision because it was becoming un-viable for such a small restaurant to continue with the amount of no-shows we were experiencing.
“The no no-bookings policy works really well at Bold Street as we have a basement bar where diners can wait until we have a table for them, it’s open Thursday, Friday and Saturday and has been really well received.
“We still accept bookings at Bold Street for six plus but hold credit card details which are charged at £10 per head for a no-show.”
“We could go down the route of credit cards for all bookings, but we want our restaurants to be informal, and fun, and holding credit card details for all diners creates a mistrust before they even come through the door.
“If things get worse we may have to look at it again, but holding credit card details for all bookings would be an absolute last resort.”