Restaurant operators who braved the rough post-coronavirus environment and opened their doors to limited customers are introducing cancellation charges and pre-pay requirements, after losing revenue to no-shows.
Family-run Italian restaurant in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, Beppi’s, tweeted that an entire table of six failed to show for their booking.
“60 per cent of our revenue GONE,” it stated. “No call to cancel, phone just goes to message bank. Disgraceful behaviour.”
While no-shows in Sydney might not have broken the bank pre-coronavirus, given restaurants can only open to 10 patrons at a time now, it can punch a hole through nightly profits.
DJ Singh, owner of Melbourne’s oldest Indian restaurant Gaylords, said restaurants need to start getting some form of guarantee from customers in the booking process.
“We are taking reservations through our website only so we can manage numbers and also booking information,” Singh told Yahoo Finance.
"For those who book in for a table of four or more, we are calling those who book to get their credit card details to secure booking. This will provide us with some type of guarantee from the people booking.
"We will let them know that if they don't show or don't cancel within a set period of time, that we will charge a 'no-show fee of $20'.
"We hope that if we let people know - they will do the right thing - and the majority of people do.”
Joseph Vargetto, owner of Mister Bianco in Melbourne, told Yahoo Finance it’s the only way forward, and it must be implemented by all restaurants across the board.
“It is socially acceptable for people to be expected to pre-buy tickets for the cinema, theatre or football and then if they decide not to go well then that's their choice but the venue doesn't miss out,” Vargetto said.
“For restaurants, we aren't expected to do that. But I think given the fragility of our industry, especially after Covid-19, we need to all be considering this.”
And some restaurants have already implemented their own policies.
Rubyos in Sydney’s Newtown is considering taking a deposit for every booking that comes in, while Manta in Woolloomooloo is taking customers’ credit card details, and charging $50 per each non-showing patron.
Some are going even further: Amanda’s on the Edge in Sydney’s Hunter Valley is taking a full payment upfront for all bookings.
"This is not just about booking a table,” Singh said. “This is about people's livelihoods, keeping our staff in jobs and being able to pay rent.
“We want to be here for everyone. Most people do the right thing - but sadly some do not.”
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