No-shows causing a fifth of restaurant owners to ‘consider closing for good’

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

No-shows causing a fifth of restaurant owners to ‘consider closing for good’

Related tags No-shows Restaurant Inflation

The impact of no-shows and last-minute cancellations is causing almost a fifth of restaurant owners to consider closing for good, according to new data from Barclaycard Payments.

People cancelling their reservation at the last minute, or simply not turning up, is one of the biggest issues the industry is facing right now according to almost a quarter (23%) of owners and managers in the industry, with businesses estimating they lose an average of £89 for each customer that doesn’t turn up. 

Coming amid a period of sustained economic pressure driven primarily by inflation and high energy prices, the impact no-shows and last-minute cancellations has caused 18% of restaurant owners to consider closing for good, with four in 10 seeing an increase in customers not turning up to their booking in the last year.

“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,” says Kirsty Morris, MD at Barclaycard Payments.

“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.”

Of the 200 restaurants surveyed, 34% currently take card details when booking and charge a cancellation fee if a customer is a no-show, with a further 35% charging an upfront deposit to put customers off not attending.

As well as surveying restaurants, Barclaycard Payments also spoke to 2,000 UK adults who ‘regularly eat out at restaurants’, with a third (33%) saying they would be less likely to cancel a booking if they had been asked to pay a deposit.

British summertime, with its warmer weather and longer days, increases people’s likelihood to eat out more, according to 51% of those polled.

As the summer holidays approach nearly a fifth (17%) of millennials are planning to dine out more than they have done over the last six months, rising to over a quarter (26%) for younger diners (aged 18 to 26).

“With more venues considering charging cancellation fees to deter no-shows, we want to help educate diners about the real impact on businesses of cancelling last-minute so they can think ahead and give advance warning – and ensure that the venue has enough time to refill tables, staff accordingly, and get the correct volume of food and drink in stock,” adds Morris.

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