No more no-shows

May 4, 2015

By foodService Magazine

A new system from Dimmi will charge diners who fail to turn up for their reservation; a new front in the battle against no-shows.

In response to the frustration spreading within the industry over no-shows, restaurant booking site Dimmi has launched a new system that demands diners leave their credit card details upon booking, facing a no-show fee if they fail to attend their dinner or lunch date.

It may be in its infancy – the system was launched early April – but Dimmi Guarantees is already attracting some of the country’s top restaurants, eager to eliminate the financial irritant of no-shows that can challenge an establishment’s survival.

According to recent figures, the no-show rate for the country’s restaurant industry is around 4%, which can represent a sizeable pain for restaurants trying to make ends meet on a 3-5% profit margin. In top restaurants, a Saturday evening slot is a golden ticket, and a table left empty due to a no-show is a costly irritant.

Australia is lagging behind the likes of the UK and US when it comes to clamping down on no-shows – in both countries some restaurants are charging customers in advance for their meal regardless of whether they turn up to eat it or not. Chicago’s Next was one of the first to start selling ‘tickets’ for dinners in 2011, reducing no-shows to such a level that, in one year, only five tables didn’t show.

The owner of Next, Nick Kokonas, refined the system with his newer venue – his cocktail bar still sells tickets but takes the money off the customer’s final bar tab – and is exporting the approach to some restaurants in the UK.

Other countries’ restaurants have adopted creative means of ‘punishing’ the no-shows, such as publicly listing the names of customers who don’t turn up for their reservation on social media.

Dimmi Guarantees, the first booking system to charge for no-shows in Australia, has attracted 100 of the top restaurants already listed on the main site, with top venues such as Ester, Ormeggio at the Spit, Restaurant Orano and Six Penny singing the praises of the new approach.

Anna Pavoni of Ormeggio at the Spit complained that no shows were “financially crippling us as well as leading to many disappointed customers who couldn’t book as we were fully booked at the time. Dimmi Guarantees has completely solved this issue for us. Completely.”

Those signed up have reported the no-show impact dropping from 4% to 1%, with the system working to protect the restaurant from the reams of people who change their plans without informing the venue.

This article is written by our media partner, foodService Magazine. Click here to view more articles.

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