One no-show costs an average of £89, research reveals

24 July 2023 by
One no-show costs an average of £89, research reveals

No-shows can cost hospitality businesses an average of £89 per lost customer, research has revealed.

Data from Barclaycard Payments, sourced from a poll of 2,000 UK adults who regularly eat out at restaurants and 200 UK restaurant owners in May 2023, also showed that nearly a fifth of hospitality businesses considered permanent closure as a result of last-minute cancellations and no-shows.

Six out of 10 customers cancel their reservation while giving less than 24 hours' notice, while no-shows were reported to be the joint most common form of cancellation (19%).

Research showed the rise in cancellations has led to increased food waste, staffing challenges, low team morale and worsened staff mental health.

Less than a fifth (16%) of hospitality businesses can recover lost earnings through cancellation fees, the report said.

Despite this, there is a "strong desire to eat out", with a third of diners stating they would be less likely to cancel if they had been asked to pay a deposit.

Tom Aikens, chef-owner of Muse by Tom Aikens in London's Belgravia, said: "It's great to see so many people still looking forward to meals out despite the current climate. At my restaurant Muse, we do everything we can to minimise the impact of cancellations by communicating with the guest through detailed booking confirmations, requesting guests confirm their reservations six days prior and having a strict five-day cancellation policy.

"Unfortunately, there are still some unavoidable circumstances where this is the case, which leads to challenges such as food wastage, staffing levels and fundamentally loss of sales."

Kirsty Morris, managing director at Barclaycard Payments, added: "The hospitality industry has faced challenge after challenge in recent years and is continuing to feel the strain against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis. With longer days and summer holidays around the corner, it's crucial to the success of many of these businesses that diners understood the impact that not showing up can have; something that seems small to a customer can have a real knock-on effect on a restaurant's bottom line."

It comes after chef Sven-Hanson Britt said that dropping the £50 booking deposit for his London restaurant to just £5 caused a huge rise in no-shows and cancellations and led to the reservation process becoming ‘dark and negative' earlier this year.

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