Superficially it might seem a small issue, which would be rectified by a couple of walk-ins and a few customers just staying for that one extra drink. However, it’s a repeat problem and the thoughtlessness actually costs the sector millions and even billions of pounds a year through lost revenue. Attribute some of this deficit to our small, local businesses and you’re exacerbating an already disastrous situation for them. When someone books a table for six people at the moment, our local businesses are counting on that to boost the money coming into the business, which has potentially been haemorrhaging due to a lack of government support, shifting sands for trading on when and how they can open and the lack of confidence present in the general public not yet comfortable in entering public spaces during the pandemic. By not showing up, the table is reserved and more often than not, other potential customers are turned away due to a lack of availability. By not showing up, this is depriving the business of valuable and possibly business saving incomings.
Back of the cigarette packed time.
If a bar loses out on a table booking, which is worth £100 (lets say each person have 3-4 drinks at £20 each person on average for a party of 5 people) over 2-3 hours, then this happening in a night probably at a rate of 2-3 no shows means £200-300 of lost revenue. A week this can add up to £1,200 (opening Thurs-Sun), a month this will be nearly £5,000. That can build into an even more significant sum over a year. Around £60,000 based on these assumptions.
Industry estimates show that somewhere in the region of up to £16 billion was lost due to no shows over a year: https://sales.resdiary.com/no-shows-costing-uk-hospitality-industry-16-billion-year/. This is a startling figure and the cost to small businesses for a share of this hits very hard indeed. It’s not fair is it, when these businesses are desperate for this money to come in to help them pay rent, rates, cover wages and other overheads which are required?
So what can people do?
The simplest answer is to stick to your booking, make good on your promise to attend a venue and resist the temptation to abandon plans or intentions on a whim. If you can’t make the booking, then contact the venue as soon as possible via telephone or social media to let them know if plans need to alter or be cancelled; it’s not what they want to hear, but they’d rather be able to make alternative arrangements and need as much time as possible to do so. If you’re not completely sure what your plans for a day or night out will entail, then don’t book a venue in advance; chance the walk in or ring ahead shortly before you plan to visit instead.
We continually repeat this in our output, but we’re going to do so again; the small, local and independent business that make up the bedrock of Liverpool and Merseyside’s hospitality need our help. They need it at the best of times, give how tight things are for them; they need it more than ever given the context of the last year and ongoing uncertainty.
Honour your bookings.