A hospitality consultancy in Liverpool is launching a #SaveMySeat campaign to encourage restaurant diners to pay a 20% deposit to deter those who don’t turn up for their meal. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s restaurants have reopened to outside diners this week as the COVID-19 restrictions started to ease but the issue of ‘no show’ diners is causing further problems.
Within hours of venues opening back up on Monday, April 12, one city centre restaurant, Bacaro, was reporting diners not showing up for tables they had booked. The sector has taken a battering for 12 months and no-shows are adding to their financial plight.
Now hospitality health and safety consultancy, Foursquare Group, is launching an awareness campaign called #SaveMySeat to promote the idea among the public of diners paying a 20% deposit when they book a table.
Foursquare says around 20% of restaurant bookings end up being no shows. This costs the UK hospitality industry about £16bn a year which is disastrous for many venues in normal circumstances.
Hospitality venues use their booking information to schedule staff and ensure that they have enough stock to meet their orders. When a customer fails to arrive for their allocated booking, it’s almost impossible for a restaurant to resell that table without notice. Which means that the restaurant is left carrying the burden of that cost.
According to a recent survey by guest experience management company HGEM, almost two thirds of customers were happy to pay a deposit when booking a table at a restaurant. Foursquare is encouraging the public to #SaveMySeat and normalise paying a deposit when booking at your favourite spot.
The company supported the hospitality industry at the height of the pandemic by offering a ‘pay-what-you-can’ service to bars, cafes and restaurants, helping venues to ensure they took the right measures to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
Louise Kissack, Foursquare’s non executive director of hospitality, said: “As we enter yet another phase of the new normal, we’re on a mission to normalise deposits.
“We’re launching our #SaveMySeat campaign to help customers understand that when your local independent restaurant asks you for a small deposit on booking it’s simply their way of safeguarding their business and protecting their future.”
However, Bacaro itself isn’t keen on the idea of deposits in the current environment. In a follow up to the no-shows post on its Twitter feed, it said: “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 and the chance of poor weather. Just pretty please cancel your table if you can’t make it.”