How Top Restaurants Handle No-Shows

If you dream of opening your own restaurant one day, you will inevitably have to deal with reservations and no-shows. While your online cooking school will help you perfect your culinary skills, you might be wondering how to guarantee you have a busy dining room. Here’s a look at how some restaurants combat no-shows every night.

No reservations: Your favorite restaurant in town might not accept reservations, and while you are frustrated with the system, it is a method to deal with no-shows. While large and busy dining establishments may not be majorly affected by no-shows, it can mean a big loss for some owners. According to The Wall Street Journal, Noma, a small but famous restaurant in Copenhagen, loses up to $500 per person for every no-show.

“Every single day I will look at how the previous night went and every single day there’s upwards of 40 no-shows at Nobu,” Drew Nieporent, owner of the Myriad Restaurant Group told the source.

Forty cancelations in a single day is a large hit for any restaurant. Nieporent notes that online reservations have caused no-shows to rise because it is easy to book several restaurants at the click of a few buttons.

Lottery system: You have bought tickets to see a play and a movie, but what about dinner? If you want to eat at Next in Chicago, you will have to go on the company’s website or Facebook page to determine table availability. If you see a time slot you can make, you will then need to pre-purchase tickets for the day and time of your meal. If you do not show up, there is no refund for the money you spent. In any given season, Next sells about $3 million in dining tickets.

While this system can frustrate people who do not like the idea of pre-purchasing dinner, it can work because it forces people to commit to a reservation.

Overbooking: Restaurants can chose to overbook in the hopes of covering their losses when several parties do not show up. From a business standpoint this makes sense: restaurants will do everything in their power to assure they are maximizing profits every single night.

However, the next time you are at a restaurant and wonder why you are kept waiting well past your reservation time, overbooking by the restaurant staff may be the culprit.

Tech-savvy solutions: As smartphone and app usage increases, modern solutions are gaining momentum with popular restaurants. Websites such as TechSavvy and OpenTable offer users the chance to book tables at off-peak times, pay a small fee and then get a discount off the dining bill. For example, if you go to TableSavvy’s website you will see a restaurant list and available times for the day. You can pay a fee of about $5 to guarantee your reservation. At the end of the meal you will see a 20 to 30 percent discount on your entire check.

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