Customers who do not show up for reservations cost the restaurant industry billions of dollars each year. Increasingly, diners are turning away from making reservations by phone or in person and instead use websites, apps and other faceless platforms. Such sites serve to alienate the customer and remove responsibility they would feel to keep an engagement had it been made in through personal contact. As a result, customers find it easier to cancel arrangements. Reservations at restaurants leave customers without bookings to wait, and if no-shows occur, it results in a loss for the restaurant in time and money in sales they would have been making.
Blamed for increasing no-shows, several booking platforms in the UK have begun to enforce rules that see users pay up to £50 for cancellations or no-shows while others suspend users after repeated offence. “Unless you’re intentionally using several booking sites, you’d need multiple email accounts to get the bookings accepted. Plus, more restaurants are taking deposits,” said Joe Lutrario, deputy editor of Restaurant Magazine.