Paul and Emma Ainsworth have been left shocked and "disappointed" after 27 guests failed to keep their bookings at the Mariners pub in Cornwall, despite repeated industry-wide calls to end no-shows.
The couple, who also own the Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Caffè Rojano and the Padstow Townhouse guesthouse, have issued their own plea to the public in a bid to show them "the real cost of a no-show".
Writing on social media Paul said: "After the efforts our teams have put in to making our restaurants a safe environment and the money Emma and I have spent to make it possible. Disappointed doesn't even cut it!
"To those 27 people who thought it was OK not to show tonight and that no one would miss you. You are very wrong. We were ready for you. The restaurant rota had been written for you. The team were waiting to welcome and take care of you."
The chef said 132 team members are employed across the businesses, with no redundancies made as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added: "These people rely on Emma and I to pay their mortgages, rent, bills and many of them are the sole income earners for their families. So the number of people you are affecting is far greater than the 132 employed."
In the 11 days since restaurants were able to welcome guests following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, dozens of operators have spoken out about the impact hundreds of no-shows are having.
Among them were Tom Kerridge who said the "selfish" diners who failed to take their seats without informing the restaurant were "putting people's jobs at risk".
Many operators are considering whether to take further action to secure bookings, including Andrew McKenzie of the Vineyard hotel in Stockcross, Berkshire.
He told The Caterer: "We had written to everyone that had booked explaining our guest journey, giving them our Covid policy and a copy of the menu. We had engaged, but what we haven't done is call everybody the day before, which we're going to reintroduce and I'm probably going to charge a deposit. I'm a little reluctant, but any profit we might have made on Sunday was wiped out by this, it's real money we've lost, it's pretty devastating."