Dear Restaurateur. Shouldn't you start charging a booking fee?

Tom Kerridge has been shouting on his Instagram (quite rightly) about ‘no shows.’ Apparently 27 people didn’t turn up to his restaurant Tom Kerridge’s Bar and Grill in the Corinthia Hotel in London last weekend.

(Manchester folk take note that Kerridge will not be reopening The Bull and Bear until September.)

TV-friendly Tom posted on his Instagram: 'To the 27 people that booked @kerridgesbandg and then failed to turn up on a Saturday night... This industry, like many others is on the verge of collapse. Your behaviour is disgraceful, shortsighted and down right unhelpful...'

The post was liked by almost 29,000 people and Tom is highlighting the fact that this is a major problem across the industry. So why didn't he charge them a deposit when they made the booking?

I have long recommended that the restaurants, particularly those with limited covers and all those that require bookings on busy times, should charge a booking fee that can be refunded if the punter cancels within 24 hours.

I think £10 per person will make a dramatic difference. It could be more. But the thing is, all restaurants have a golden opportunity in the post-COVID environment to put right wrongs without worrying that they will lose covers. 

Surveys from readers covering the topic produced the following results:

At the time this article was published, the vote was still live with 963 votes:

Yes                  3%

No                   97%

So, it is bloody clear to me that the public are well behind accepting a per head deposit, so start changing your practices now. Get in the boat. Just do it! 

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