Struggling restaurants hit out at ‘rude’ no-shows post lockdown

Struggling restaurants hit out at 'rude' no-shows post lockdown
Restaurant owners are still struggling with no shows

Most restaurants have been closed for more than three months during lockdown, and while many have now reopened, the social distancing in the wake of coronavirus means capacity is much lower than before.


Despite this, customers are booking tables and failing to show up, with some venues seeing dozens of empty seats during busy nights, resulting in the loss of hundreds of pounds.

Two years ago, the Times reported on how the local restaurant industry was losing thousands of pounds each week due to no shows.

But after lockdown, the effect of people not turning up is adding to the pressure faced by hospitality businesses that have already lost several months’ worth of trade and are coping with strict social distancing rules.

“Last Saturday, we had six tables that did not show up over lunch and dinner,” said Philippa King at The Bell in Ticehurst.

“That was at least a dozen people, and when you are having to turn away walk-in customers it is really damaging, especially now when capacity is reduced.”

She continued: “It is just so rude. All it takes is a phone call to let us know they are not coming.”

She added that the award-winning pub and hotel, which has just undergone a major refurbishment, is now contemplating taking deposits from customers when they book.

In Tunbridge Wells town centre, no shows are also being reported in a number of restaurants.

At the Vittle & Swig, around twelve people failed to turn up after the first weekend opening after lockdown, and there were more no shows in the following weekends.

Proprietor Gerry Stevens told the Times: “We have been reiterating to people when they book how important to us that that they turn up or let us know they can’t come.

“It is getting a bit better since the first weekend, so I’m hoping the message is getting through.”

Mark Harper at Rendez-vous in Camden Road, who also has had people fail to arrive for tables that they have booked says the impact of no shows post Covid is far bigger than before.

“The impact was always big but with nearly all restaurants having reduced capacity it is more serious than ever,” he said. “We have gone down from 54 to 34, so that is a significant reduction in covers.”

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