No-shows in the age of COVID-19 are no joke. The revenue impact of each no-show is greater, given the reduced capacity in restaurants due to safe distancing measures. In this current climate, the likelihood of no-shows might increase, with diners flaking out on plans due to the threat of the virus or their fear of socialising in crowds.
But as we’ve observed, operating a restaurant in a pandemic has also provided opportunities for you to reinvent your restaurant and throw out what hasn’t been working in the past. Be that as it may, we know that no-shows eat into your revenue, which is why it’s time to get real about guests ghosting your restaurant.
Start by taking simple yet measured steps in encouraging diners to honour their reservations. Slowly but surely, these will aid in a behavioural change so that one day, we can say goodbye to no-show culture altogether.
1. Educate diners on how no-shows affect your restaurant
Surprise, surprise — most diners don’t think it’s a big deal when they don’t cancel a reservation ahead of their no-show. This is why you’re encouraged to inform diners of its pitfalls. During this stage of recovery, some restaurants have banded together on #StopNoShows or #RespectRestaurants campaigns to appeal to diners, letting them know how important this revenue is needed to pay bills and feed staff.
2. Send reminder texts and emails
Diners are less likely to forget appointments if you remind them. ChopeBook’s ‘ping’ feature automatically sends diners a text or call ahead of their reservation, getting diners to respond to confirm their reservation. These ‘pings’ can be timed and automated, so staff don’t need to waste time on these processes. Our instant “Add to Calendar” feature on the Chope app also gives diners automated pushes based on their phone’s calendar settings.
Automate processes like booking confirmations and reminders to diners don’t forget.
3. Take deposits
Ah, the age-old conundrum. Should your restaurant take deposits for bookings? Yes, especially at this time, and notably if your average cheque is considerably high. ChopeBook and ChopeCloud allow restaurants the option of taking deposits from diners to secure seats. Restaurants can either charge an upfront deposit, or charge a credit to the diners’ card after they don’t show up.
In a time where contactless and cashless is king, consider taking pre-payment as a form of deposit for set meals so that all diners have to do is show up, and feast.
4. Make it easy to cancel
The new age diner isn’t big on talk time. By making their reservations easy to cancel, it saves them the hassle of calling or emailing when something comes up. With ChopeBook’s table management system, restaurants immediately get notified of cancellations and edits to a reservation with a push notification and email, automatically freeing up the previously assigned table. Chope’s diner-facing platform makes it easy for diners to edit and cancel reservations in a few clicks.
At the back end, you can easily view and update a diner’s status to determine if they’ve booked, waitlisted, cancelled, and more.
5. Automate your waitlist
If a dining group decides not to show up at the last minute, ensure you have a group of diners waiting to fill in. Simplify the process by keeping a waitlist on ChopeBook and automating the process of offering a table to the next diner.
Watch our Restaurant Restart Video Series to journey with an owner, manager, and diner of a restaurant as they pivot to Phase 2.
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