Top 4 Tips for Combating No Shows

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Combating No Shows Hospitality industry re-opening dampened by no shows

As the hospitality gets back to business I have noticed a steady stream of owners venting on social media about "No Shows" and the impact this has had on their business.

Obviously it is an incredibly selfish act by unthinking individuals but at a time when numbers are still limited by the 4 Sq metre rule, the effect on a small cafe or restaurant can be devastating. Potentially the difference between making a small profit or losing money on the night. One of my favourite cafes in Dee Why can normally hold 80 plus people in any one sitting, but when you apply the distancing rule they are limited to 32 people. So their capacity is reduced almost 60 percent.

Here are my top tips for reducing No Shows

Top 4 Tips for Reducing No Shows

1. Confirm all bookings

Consider sending out an SMS text to confirm the booking. This strategy is used across many industries and is especially prevalent in medical appointments. The hospitality industry is no different and I have seen statistics showing that No Shows decrease by around 70% when all bookings are pre-confirmed.

Everyone reads their text messages and it is by far the surest way to make certain they receive your message.

The day before the booking send a very simple message "please confirm your booking for a table of 4 people for tomorrow night at 7pm. Reply Yes or No

Then, if by mid morning on the day of the booking they haven't responded send a second text stating "You have not yet confirmed your booking for this evening at "X" restaurant. Please confirm ASAP by return text or we will have to offer your table to someone on our waiting list. Thank you, we appreciate your courtesy"

2. Have a waiting list

Make sure you keep a waiting list of people who would like a reservation. Don't simply tell people that "we are already full, sorry".

Then, if by 3pm on the afternoon of the booking and you haven't had a response then you can start ringing or texting your waiting list. Place the cancelled booking onto your waiting list as a backup plan.

Make sure your booking cancellation policy is clearly stated when the original booking is made.

3. Pre Pay for your booking

If a customer is serious about a reservation then ask them to put down a table deposit. It should be refundable provided that the customer cancels with plenty of notice

4. Have defined setting times

By offering defined setting times for breakfast, lunch and dinner service can reduce the impact of a no show. If there is a no show and it is at a booking time defined by you, then you still have the opportunity to fill that spot in the second sitting. You may even get lucky and have some walk ins.

Last Friday was my wedding anniversary and when we made a booking at one of our favourite restaurants we were offered a choice of either 5:30 to 7:00pm or 7:30 to 9:00pm. I guess the time slot 7:00 to 7:30 is when they will clean and sanitise the restaurants in preparation for the next lot of guests. On Thursday, as I wrote this, I have already had to confirm my booking by reply text to the restaurant.

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