RESTAURANT bosses will be enforcing a “pay-before-you-eat” policy to tackle the problem of “no shows” ahead of their busy post-lockdown season.
As restaurants prepare to reopen their outdoor dining spaces on April 12, some owners have been forced to ask for a payment upfront after a year of losing money due to the pandemic.
The new rules are set to stop diners from booking multiple restaurants for the same night and choosing their preferred option last-minute wasting restaurants’ money and food.
Many businesses have opened up booking for their outdoor dining on April 12 and their indoor dining on May 17 with some already booked out for the whole summer.
Some places say they’re already “absolutely chocka” with bookings, according to Daily Mail – with some reportedly facing up to twice as many reservations compared to when they reopened last July following the first lockdown.
Kray Treadwell, the owner of the Birmingham restaurant 670 grams, said his venue had already taken prepayments for bookings for the £70 ten-course tasting menu.
“We’re such a small restaurant, if the table of four doesn’t turn up on a Friday night, then we lose hundreds of pounds,” he told the Sunday Times.
“It’s like getting a ticket to the theatre. If you can’t go that night, you can give it to your friend.”
Meanwhile, Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UK hospitality said: “No-shows are a nuisance at the best of times but, with businesses still so fragile, their impacts would be hugely compounded.”
Stephen Harris of gastropub The Sportsman, in Whitstable, Kent, told the Mail Online: “We are completely full until September.
“If you want to come on a Saturday night, we aren’t free until the end of October.”
The Michelin star chef also added: “We get people coming from New York, Tokyo and Stockholm and we are finding that even now. People are booking from everywhere.
“Our staff taking bookings on the phones have received abuse from people not being able to get booked in.”
Brits have been waiting weeks to get a table at a pub or restaurant after businesses have been rammed with thousands of bookings.
Fuller’s – which will reopen 183 pubs from next month – says it’s also seeing a “high level of bookings”.
A spokesperson from the pub chain told HOAR: “People clearly can’t wait to get back to the pub, which is great to see.
“We’ve invested heavily in our outside areas and now we just can’t wait to get our pubs open and welcome our customers back.”
Separately, a spokesperson from Young’s said they’re experiencing “a very good level of bookings”.
It comes as the Daily Mail reports how D&D, which has 42 restaurants, has taken 50,000 reservations already and is fully reserved “well into May” in some areas.
Rick Stein has also reportedly taken bookings from 20,000 customers for its Cornish restaurants in the last two weeks alone.
Thirsty Brits have been complaining about not being able to get a table on Twitter.
One person said: “Cool how every pub is already pre-booked for all of April and May.”
Another said: “All the restaurants on my list are not showing bookings or fully booked.”
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