Diners are not turning up for their bookings and for whatever reason guests think it is ok to 'no show'. It's becoming such a problem that it is having an enormous financial impact on restaurant businesses. Of course it is a lack of courtesy on the customers part to not 'phone and cancel a booking or inform a restaurant that they can't make it. But can restaurateurs help themsleves improve this situation?
Working with accommodation providers who faced similar problems here are some of the suggestions that I know worked, especially with the online bookers who were the worst offenders.
* Set out your booking and cancellation policy - an official policy can't be disputed.
* Include - how far in advance a cancellation is required, how long a table will be held for in the event of a no-show, whether you'll charge customers for not turning up if they haven't cancelled their booking.
* Consider taking a small deposit at the time of booking - perhaps the amount you would consider charging for a no show. Diners tend to be more likely to show if they have money at stake.
* Engage with customers as soon as a booking is made - send menu's, a wine list, double check dietary requirements. Send a text or email to confirm the booking, reminding your customers who may have forgotten where they've booked. Include a phone number and address as well as the time of the reservation.
* The day before, engage again, make a phone call, text or email to remind customers of their booking, providing the customer with a good impression of your customer service.
* Make it easy to cancel the booking - this will at least give you more time to fill an empty table.
In Case You Missed It - social media is not just a way to communicate with your friends but necessary to target and market directly to those you want to reach. Top platforms are Facebook (the place to go to chat and be friendly, keep the tone light and informal), Twitter (interactive dialogue and communication, nurture, engage and build your following, retweet and answer questions when possible), Instagram (creative and collaborative with the chance to create stories and expand your reach using hashtags), Pinterest (female centric and image based, develop your own personality with eye catching, unique pinboards, great for recipe boards) and YouTube (create useful and instructive 'how to' videos as well as capturing attention), Google owns YouTube so is routinely ranked highly on Google search page. So what are you waiting for?
It's always good to get published in a cookbook! I have lots of local food knowledge and contacts in the food world if you need recommendations
I always try and keep up to date with what's going on in the food and drink world, especially what is happening in East Anglia. So today I'm off to Menta's Food and Drink Seminar at The Cookhouse. Suffolk Food Hall.
I was invited by Quality in Tourism to present a workshop on Taste and Food Trends for the VisitEngland annual conference in Broadway. Worcestershire.
We discussed the sensoriality (made that word up) of food and our five senses. I used different types of honey to carry out a taste test and to find out who was a taster and who was a non taster.
Talking about food trends created a lively discussion. Titled from the cramen burger to the cronut we looked at what was hot and what was not. Chicken Tikka Martini anyone?