Welsh Restaurants Feel the Pain of No Shows Once More

No More No Shows To Charge or Not to Charge

Welsh Restaurants Feel the Pain of No Shows Once More

Last year, as part of the Welsh arm of the #nomorenoshows campaign, we looked to help multiple restaurants throughout Wales educate the public on what no shows actually do to the hospitality sector.

However again Welsh restaurants are starting to feel the pain of ‘no shows’ once more, and hospitality leaders, operators and employees from all around Wales will be once more posting the #nomorenoshows – calling on their own network of customers, contacts, family & friends to do their bit by sharing the image and following three simple steps:

  1. Plans change. That’s cool. Just let us know.
  2. Rebook – we still love you.
  3. Encourage friends and family to do the same.

Georgina Heffernan, Operations Manager of the Potted Pig, and Laura Keogh, co-owner of La Pentola, both restaurants situated within Cardiff’s city centre, have spoken out about the increase in #noshows affecting the Welsh hospitality sector yet again.

“After the last lockdown we saw a huge drop in no shows and the Welsh arm of the nomorenoshows campaign was really successful in getting the general public to hear our cries for common courtesy” says Georgina.

“We felt that the campaign organisers, Meryl Cubley and Find My Dine, and the hospitality sector and the public all pulled together to support our industry as much as possible; and opening back up again was met with the boost that we all needed.

“But unfortunately; we are now starting to see no shows, slowly but surely building back up again. Last weekend, on Friday we had 3 tables as no shows; 2 tables were charged and 1 table had fake card details. On Saturday – 6 tables were a no show; 4 tables were charged and another table had used fake details once more and 1 table had insufficient funds in the account to charge. On Sunday, 2 tables were a no show, and 1 table who had booked in the morning hung up twice on the host when they called to see where they were; 20 minutes after the allotted time.

The same problem is reflected at La Pentola, a popular modern Italian inspired bistro, situated in the suburbs of Cardiff. Couple Laura and Rhys (formerly of The Pot Cafe) recently experienced 8 no shows on a Friday night; and 14 no shows on a Saturday night.

“We don’t just lose money because we can’t re-sell the pre-booked tables. Weekend shifts can be really busy; so we need the right amount of staff – but if people don’t turn up – we still obviously have to pay our team their wages. Then on top of that we lose money on all the produce we’ve ordered in to cover reservations,” said Laura.

Meryl Cubley, the lead in the Welsh arm of the #nomorenoshows campaign, alongside partners Find My Dine, said: “The costs of running a restaurant are already astronomical – and this is a sector that doesn’t make a lot of profit on the bottom line, after the many outgoings and utility costs are deducted. Added to that, new cleaning and hygiene practises in our post-covid world and that bumps up costs; and then you’ve got the despair and rejection our Welsh chefs and restaurateurs are feeling – who only want to be creative and cook and bring joy into the people’s lives.

“When people don’t turn up and also don’t have the common courtesy to let the restaurant know; you’re essentially looking down a path to future financial ruin for many in the sector. This is a pretty turbulent and soul destroying period for Welsh hospitality. Wales has an amazing larder; we’ve got access to some of the best ingredients in the world; and we’re blessed with a bounty on both sea and land. The hospitality sectors in Cardiff and in Wales, are committed to showcasing these ingredients to and for everyone. But with the advent of #noshows rearing its ugly head again, it won’t be long until the Welsh food and drink sector is on its knees; and the public are going to be negatively impacted by that too.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating when we are turning tables away as we are still running at just over half capacity still to keep everyone as safe as possible,” says Georgina.

Laura agrees: “Because of no shows we’re going to have to start charging people a booking deposit for tables of 6 or more. But we’re already finding that people are refusing to book with us if we ask them for a deposit; especially with smaller tables.”

“Many people say charge more or charge a non refundable deposit but we understand that times are hard for everyone at the moment and we don’t want to put people off coming to visit us,” says Georgina.

Jonathan Swain and Helen Wilson of Find My Dine said: ‘’You can’t work with restaurant staff and business owners as we do, and fail to be affected by what this industry is having to cope with in 2021. This reopening is a chink of light where people can save their livelihoods against huge odds. Each booking is a glimmer of hope, a step toward a more secure future. For people to just not turn up is not just demoralising: it is crippling. Plans change: so give the restaurant a chance to fill your table by just letting them know. They’ll understand. They’ll still be happy to see you next time. But please – do tell them. You wouldn’t stand a friend up at the pub without getting in touch – and their wages don’t depend on you turning up. It’s the right thing to do as the industry rebuilds itself.”

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