No shows have always been a problem for restauranteurs, as some people have no regard for others.
No shows were a problem before Covid-19, and as soon as lockdown was over no shows reappeared.
The only news worthy aspect of this is that anyone is surprised.
Most people expect others to behave similarly to themselves, the fact that they don’t leads to disappointment, and wider negative emotions.
Most people also reflect and mimic values and traits displayed by family, friends and peers. So, within groups of hospitality professionals no shows are an outrage.
To many people who have not enjoyed an upbringing where values are instilled, or lived in environments where decent behaviour is the norm, not showing up for a restaurant booking doesn’t even register as something not to do. They have no regard for other people and as such if you open a door for them, don’t be surprised when they jump through it.
Also, avoid mistakenly allocating values and integrity alongside social demographics. The cost of a seat at a restaurant table will not protect it from people who place no value in it, including many who can easily afford it.
The likelihood currently is that it will be a long time before most if not all restaurants are back to operating at anything like pre Covid-19 levels. Adjustments have to be made to reopen and as time moves forward those adjustments will be further adapted to accommodate the business reality at that point.
Is now also time for restaurants to adopt booking processes that necessitates a deposit with every booking?
Almost every other ‘entertainment’ avenue open to consumers sees people paying in full before they go anywhere near the entrance door. Football matches and every other spectator sport, theatres, concerts and cinemas. No shows at these type of ‘experiences’ are rare, partly as unless there is an incredibly good reason someone is ‘really’ unable to go, they do, as they don’t want to lose their money.
Much of the debate is phycological, and much of the psychology is in perceived behaviour and outcomes of that behaviour. As said at the outset, some people have little or no regard for others, your displeasure has no bearing on them and won’t change them.
When they book a table at your restaurant, in your mind it’s a booking, in theirs it’s an option. So, they will in all likelihood be the ones who abandon a booking when you ask for a deposit. It might be that installing such a protection mechanism now will pay dividends in the years ahead.
Protection mechanism no shows – 16 July 2020 – Protection mechanism no shows