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Frustrated chef threatens deposits or closure over no-shows

14 June 2016 by
Frustrated chef threatens deposits or closure over no-shows

The chef-owner of a restaurant in Wales has become so fed up with no-shows that he has warning customers that he may start taking deposits, stop advance bookings, or even close.

Si Toft, who runs the Dining Room on the High Street in Abersoch, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, claimed he had seen 39 no-shows in just six nights at his 24-cover restaurant.

The experience prompted him to pen an open letter on Twitter, voicing his frustration at diners who make bookings but then fail to turn up.

"I've taken the same booking twice from a very lovely lady (who thought she'd rung different places, bless her) and I've apologised to a chap for being full on a night in August to be told ‘oh don't worry mate, we've got a couple of other options booked'," Toft said.

He added: "I also realise there's a football tournament on and we know as restaurants that's going to hit us." But he continued: "Instead of blaming that, let's imagine for a second you arriving at your table to find us shut because I'd gone out to watch the match."

He then set out three options: firstly that he could take deposits, an idea he said he hated and didn't regard as practical; secondly that he may stop taking advance booking altogether; or thirdly that he may close the restaurant.

"To be clear I don't want to do any of them but we literally can't carry on like this," Toft added.

No-shows are a perennial problem for restaurants, and last year online reservation system ResDiary found that they were costing the industry £16b a year.

A total of 42% of restaurants said they took or held pre-paid deposits, although these are known to be unpopular with customers.

Restaurateurs tackle no-shows >>

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