No-show figures can be relaxing or alarming, it all depends on the source. Some say it’s as high as 2%, others put it at 20% and the less optimistic put the rate at 32%.
But what is the no-show and why is it so dangerous?
Many restaurants work under a reservation system. The diner must call, reserve the date he or she will be attending in order to enjoy the food and service of the restaurant.
The reservation, as a business model, seeks to optimize the operation of the restaurant, ensuring a space with the largest number of seats occupied during the opening days. However, many people call the restaurant, reserve a date and then do not show up, or what is the same, they do a no-show.
The no-show, as you can see, is a danger to the restaurant’s finances.
Stay with us to discover the best practices, tips and tricks to manage the no-show and minimize the damage to your restaurant.
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Let’s strip the no-show
The no-show, also known as last minute cancellations, happens when a customer makes a reservation in a restaurant and does not attend the establishment or calls to cancel the reservation, so the restaurant loses a space during the service.
But those are not the only causes. The no-show includes people who arrive at the establishment very late, customers who are absent with prior notice and those who do not indicate that they will not attend their reservation.
The no-show is a phenomenon that has increased and has no foundation to exist. Especially when we know of the existence of different communication channels to talk to the people in charge of the reservations, to point out a delay due to traffic or a cancellation due to some unforeseen event.
Believe it or not, cancellations cause problems and losses in restaurants that sometimes can’t be solved.
Besides not receiving the money for the payment of the commands, it is not profitable to gather all the kitchen staff with the objective of attending to most of the tables during the day and only offering the service to half or a quarter of the establishment.
Considering the losses generated, restaurants have started to take economic actions to prevent people from forgetting to cancel their reservation.
Measures to stop the no-show in your restaurant
To avoid or eliminate the no-show at your restaurant, it is important that you have a plan for the measures you will take.
That is why we have compiled some effective measures that you can apply in your restaurant, focused on improving the management of this unexpected event, helping you to minimize the inconvenience caused by the no-show.
Do not offer or limit the reservation service
Not having a reservation schedule or limiting the number of reservations per day is one of the measures used to avoid the no-show.
If you are a restaurant owner, start by taking notes on the revenue and losses from offering the reservation service.
Regardless of the size of the business or its recognition in the world of gastronomy, it is important to be aware of these figures in order to make a decision about reservations.
If your restaurant fills up every day without reservations, the best thing you can do to not affect your business is to eliminate them.
And in case your establishment is half full, allow the reservation service, but only to a few tables or a quarter of the maximum capacity of your business.
Charging a deposit for the reservation
Charging cash or credit cards is another favorable alternative, in which your restaurant minimizes the loss generated by the absence of the people who made the reservations.
For example, some establishments charge from 10 euros onwards for making a reservation and keep the money if customers do not show up on the day and at the time indicated in the reservation.
In case the guests show up at your restaurant, you have to make the decision to stay or give them back the reservation deposit. You could credit it to the account and express it on the bill.
For the holidays, some establishments cancel the deposit payment and exchange it for a special ticket for the celebration of the holiday.
Sell promotions for special events and festivities
So that customers do not have to pay a deposit for reservations, offer price promotions, in case they are planning to celebrate a special occasion in your restaurant.
Create combos with different menu items and set a fixed price.
According to these prices, the customer pays in advance for the combos he wants to consume on the day of the celebration. It is obvious that, after paying everything from the moment of the reservation, the diner will come to enjoy the service.
Remind your customers that they have a reservation
Some people forget to write down the dates or are not aware of the day it is, so it is important to send emails or make calls to confirm your attendance at the restaurant on the day of your reservation.
If you have an automated appointment system, ask the solution provider for the possibility to send automatic messages or reminder mails. Don’t leave it all to the last day. For example, you can do it at least twice before the event.
Also, you can add a cancellation form on the website so that customers who cannot attend can cancel their reservation in less than five minutes.