A good friend tweeted this week “Overheard whilst leaving the restaurant, 'I've booked here and another place round the corner, shall we look at the menus and decide?' I thought people were better than that now.”
It is an issue but one that can be mitigated. Technology through digital restaurant booking and management systems can now take deposits for reservations, obviously reducing the risk of no-shows.
The old school method of calling the day before has always worked but many restaurants fail to utilise this simple fix, then moan when people fail to attend, sometimes for genuine reasons.
Alway advertise with bookings that ‘your table may be given away after you are 20 minutes late’ then tables can be offered up to wait lists (if you have them, if not do it)
Customer engagement matters, if they think you care they will be loyal. Once they have booked say thanks, send a menu, ask if they have any dietary issues, any specific area of the restaurant to sit.
Communication trumps anticipation!