Restaurant no-shows - name and shame?

It is fast becoming very frowned upon to not show up for your booking.

by: JD Haasbroek | 04 Dec 2012

Season is upon us and restaurateurs are gearing up to make a heap of cash. Or that is what most people think.

Yes restaurateurs will make money this season, but most of that will go to back pay suppliers, pay off overdrafts and debts, and keep the SARS lot happy. And they will pocket some too, but that I thought was the point of working hard in business.

They will also lose money.

In the winter Capetonians have the luxury of being able to choose where they want to dine at very short notice. So it is not uncommon for a party of 8 to pitch up at a restaurant at prime time on a Friday expecting a table.

But in season it is different. There are more people about and more wanting to dine out. Oh, and the weather, even in summer, in Cape Town, can be unpredictable – that darn wind. And this means that we have to book ahead of time. But what will the weather do?

Book 3 restaurants and don't show up to 2?

It seems the way around this is to book 3 restaurants, wait for the day, and then decide. Whether to tell the other restaurants you booked that you will not be arriving seems optional. Who cares? They are restaurateurs that make too much money anyway!

It is unbelievable how many people fail to pitch up for their reservations during season. Even more irritating is when a table has booked for 12 and 3 people nonchalantly show up half an hour late informing you that they are only… well three, and two more may join, but won’t be eating.

Or book a table for 7pm, but it is such a nice day at the beach, we’ll pitch at 8.30 and expect our table to be ready and waiting for us.

People! It is frustrating not only for the restaurateur (who loses money), but also for the manager (who stresses with the seating arrangements) and the chef (who all of a sudden has to serve the whole restaurant in one sitting) and the waiter (who spends the whole evening waiting for that one big table only to be sent home).

And it is rude. If you could pick up the phone to make a booking, you can certainly do it to cancel one timeously, or to relay that you are running late.


What do you think the solution is? Name and shame on social media? Charge a deposit? Give them 20 minutes before giving the table away?

It seems a solution to this problem is not making itself readily available, but one thing is certain: potential customers need to realise that manners go a very long way.

Please comment below and share your opinion.

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