Like many businesses across the country, SW&A’s hospitality sector clients have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Which is why we were disturbed to hear about their recovery being put at risk by no-shows.
The problem, it seems, is nationwide and is a real problem for popular tourist areas including Cornwall, where venues are turning genuine customers away because they are reserving tables for people who have no intention of turning up.
TV chef Paul Ainsworth said he had 27 no-shows on just one night at his restaurant in Rock – Tom Kerridge reported the same figure in London.
Michelin-starred Kerridge said that no-shows put jobs at risk in an industry that was already “on the verge of collapse”.
A group set up in Cornwall to raise awareness of the issue went “bonkers” within 24 hours with more than 40 restaurants and pubs contacting the founders to vent their anger – and express their fears for the future.
The #NoMoreNoShows campaign has been gathering momentum on social channels including Twitter and Instagram.
Limited capacities due to social distancing mean that every seat is even more valuable at present.
One possible deterrent would be to ask for a non-refundable deposit, but restaurants said this would be costly to administer as it takes time to accept payments over the phone.
Others have taken credit card details, though Ainsworth said some customers cancel their card before the charge can be taken.
We would urge everyone who has made a booking for a restaurant or pub but needs to cancel for whatever reason to do the decent thing by calling or emailing the venue – and giving them as much notice as possible so they can make the table available for someone else.
Rebook for a future date – they still need your support! – and encourage family and friends to do the same.
Let’s do what we can to give the UK’s hospitality sector the best chance of survival in uncertain times.