Restaurant owners frustrated at no shows as demand for tables surge after reopening

Connor Parker
·4 min read
Restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen to customers on Monday in England. (PA)
Restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen to customers on Monday in England. (PA)

Pub and restaurant bosses have reacted angrily to no-shows that leave sought after tables empty as people clamber to meet their friends for the first time in months.

Most of the hospitality sector in England was allowed to reopen to outdoor customers only on Monday.

Many pubs and restaurants have invested heavily in expanding outside facilities after months of forced closures.

Although customers are allowed to drink and eat outside, many COVID regulations still exist as well as guidelines encouraging businesses to set up a table booking system in order to regulate the number of customers on the premises. 

Some business owners have reacted angrily to people not showing up to their bookings, meaning a table could that have gone to a paying customer remained empty.

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The Market Shaker in Newcastle posted on Facebook demanding "no more no-shows".

They said they had over 30 tables not show up on Tuesday night.

In the post they said: "Not only does that mean 30 other groups of friends that have been cramped up in their houses for the last 3 months can’t come out and enjoy themselves it also means that we as a business miss out on the incredibly valuable revenue!

"Blood, sweat and tears have gone into making the Shaker the best it’s ever been all the while keeping prices as competitive as possible."

There has been a huge demand for tables since pubs reopened, making no-shows even worse. (PA)
There has been a huge demand for tables since pubs reopened, making no-shows even worse. (PA)

They added: "To assist in ensuring our survival we really need you to work with us on this and are praying that if you can’t make a booking no matter how short the notice you cancel it directly via the Open Table website where the booking was originally made. 

"That way we can continue to keep our heads above water, keep local people in employment and ensure that we have no empty seats moving forward that could otherwise have people like you and I catching up and having fun."

Customers reacted angrily to the post about the behaviour of the no-shows complaining they had struggled to get a table.

Many suggested using a deposit scheme to ensure they turned up.

Restaurant owners have been reacting with anger to no shows. (Baraco/Twitter)
Restaurant owners have been reacting with anger to no shows. (Baraco/Twitter)

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The chief executive of Gusto Italian also complained about 15% of their bookings not showing up, despite a personal phone call to check the customer still planned to attend. 

He said: "If you can't make it, no problem JUST LET US KNOW!."

Other owners have also reacted angrily.

The owner of Bacaro, an Italian restaurant in Liverpool, complained that two people did not show up for their reservation on the very first day they reopened. 

They said on Twitter: "We filled the tables very quickly with some lucky walk-ins but that’s not really the point is it? Deposits aren’t the answer at the moment with us only being outside & the chance of poor weather. Just pretty please cancel your table if you can’t make it!"

The government has said they hope to allow people to return to restaurants and pubs properly by mid-May. 

In the meantime ministers have been encouraging people to go to their locals and support business.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested on Thursday that Britons had a duty to "save our pubs" and buy alcohol and soft drinks.

He told the Commons: “If we want to save our pubs we have to go into them and it doesn’t mean we have to drink yards of ale, although some may choose to do that.

“But we want to go in and have something to eat, I believe Scotch eggs are popular in certain quarters, and we need to buy our children a Coca-Cola or a lemonade.

“We need to support our own pub industry if it is to survive.”

Watch: How England will leave lockdown