4 ways to reduce ‘no shows’ in your restaurant

Most of us will have been in the position where we have booked a table at a restaurant, and have later had to cancel the reservation.

Whether you are ready to admit whether you are one to just not turn up to the booking without informing the restaurant, or whether you are the restaurant owner who is wondering why there is more tumbleweed than tumblers on tables, here are a few ways restaurants can reduce the number of ‘no shows’:

1) Ask for payment at the time of booking

Whether the book is made online or on the telephone, requiring payment at the inception of the booking cuts out flakiness and also guarantees income for the restaurant irrespective of whether the guests turn up or not.

2) Taking credit card details

Again whether online or on the phone, taking credit card details, and warning people that if they do not turn up without letting the restaurant know, they may be liable to a small charge (of your choosing…but be reasonable!) is also a good deterrent to the no show offender.

If you are taking a booking for a bigger group of people, you could charge a no show fee per head due to the bigger loss potential.

3) Better reservations management training

Simply put, call all lunch and dinner bookings in the morning to confirm their attendance. This not only fortifies the relationship between the restaurant and the consumer, but also means that the restaurant is able to gauge the amount of staff and stock necessary for the day.

4) Employing a third party company to call all bookings to confirm

This is similar to point 3 above, although the restaurant would be outsourcing the work.

This will mean extra cost, but in practice it has been proven to reduce no shows by 5% in the first week!

It is accepted that no shows will still be a shadow over the restaurant industry, but the above 4 ways are some practical steps that restaurants can make to reduce them.

Got any other tips? Please share!

As many operators face both staffing and financial challenges this year in the wake of Brexit, investing in some help to guarantee that tables are maximised and keeping a venue busy could help safeguard the business.