No-show diners the bane of all restaurateurs, and, according to independent research conducted by booking platform TheFork, almost one-in-five (19%) Brits have admitted to failing to arrive for a restaurant reservation over the past four weeks, leading to a concerning rise in restaurant no-shows across the UK.
Since the return of in-door dining on May 17th, TheFork has measured a 237%* rise in bookings across the site, but with diners failing to show up. Brits have cited ‘spread booking’ as the number one reason behind failing to attend an existing booking. Spread booking is a new trend whereby consumers make reservations at multiple restaurants, to ensure they have options to choose from, but only intend to honour one of them.
Research by TheFork has revealed 30% of respondents who failed to show up for a recent booking, had made more than once reservation for a restaurant at the exact same time slot, to avoid having nowhere to go, as hospitality venues are full so quickly under the current social distancing restrictions.
The new ‘spread booking’ craze has had a vast impact on the hospitality industry so far. With the latest government announcement resulting in restrictions being imposed until at least 19th July, TheFork has calculated the potential cost to UK restaurant owners to be £6.2m in lost revenue, if this ‘no-show’ trend continues at the same trajectory.
The research has also revealed which parts of the UK are the worst no show offenders, with diners in the Capital most guilty of failing to show up for their restaurant bookings. Patrons planning to eat out in both Glasgow and Manchester have also made a habit of failing to honour bookings, coming in second and third of the UKs restaurant no-show league. In comparison, the most loyal and devoted diners with the least amount of no-shows, have been revealed as Liverpudlians and Edinburgh residents.
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Patrick Hooykaas, Managing Director at TheFork said: “It’s great to see demand for dining returning and reservations increasing across the country, but restaurants still face a huge challenge to get back on their feet. It is more important than ever that diners show their support for local businesses, and the biggest way they can do that is to only reserve the tables they really need. When diners no-show for a booking, it results in a loss of revenue that restaurants can ill afford. In the UK, it is costing businesses millions. Of course, there are times when diners have to change their plans and can’t fulfil a reservation, but when that happens our advice is to always give the restaurant as much notice as possible so they can offer the table to another customer. It is also important that booking platforms play their part by not facilitating unfair behaviours such as spread booking. Here at TheFork, we do not allow customers to make more than one booking during the same time period on our site. The message from us is simple, if you do not plan to attend your restaurant booking, cancel. We can all do our bit to help get this important industry back on its feet.”
With social distancing regulations still in place, many venues are operating at reduced capacity, and with demand outweighing table availability across many towns and restaurants across the UK, other no-show preventions from TheFork include:
- Reminders – while confirming their reservations, customers will be reminded they must cancel if they are unable to make it via email and SMS. They will also receive a message on the day of their reservation as a reminder to cancel if they cannot make their booking.
- Quick Cancellation – one-click on a phone or computer is all it takes for a customer to cancel a reservation on TheFork platform. It’s easy, saves time, and is good for both the client and the restaurant.
- Customer Rating – TheFork offers restaurants the opportunity to use a reliability meter for each customer. Comments can be left notifying of a no show so future restaurants are aware of the customers past habits.
Jade Ajwani, Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton London said: “Our industry has been blighted by no-shows since restrictions were lifted, which has had a huge knock on effect across our business. Not only does it lead to lost revenue, but it means our staff have their hours cut and food goes to waste. In normal times it is difficult enough to fill spaces at such short notice and given the safety concerns in operating a walk in policy at present, it is less likely that we are able to recoup the lost revenue. Now, more than ever, we need the public to get behind us, to get out and eat out as much as possible, but to also be considerate in their booking behaviour. We understand that things happen and life can get in the way so cancellations are common, but letting your restaurant know is a small gesture that can make a massive impact.”