As the leisure and hospitality industry emerges from lockdown, Colmore BID is urging customers to show up for bookings, or if they can’t make it let the venue know in advance.

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Bars and restaurants up and down the country are uniting under the No More No Shows campaign as venues see hundreds of bookings go unfulfilled by people that are just not showing up.

The sector faces a critical few months as venues try to recoup losses after being closed for the past three months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many restaurants within the city are now operating a no walk-ins policy to ensure social distancing measures are in place. However, when people do not turn up for their reservation, the venue is unable to reallocate the table, meaning a further loss of income. Not only this, but food waste also becomes an issue with large quantities of fresh produce going to waste as it cannot be used by the venue or donated.

Alex Tross, chair of Colmore BID’s Leisure and Hospitality working group, said: “An individual customer might not think that them not turning up for a reservation will make much of a difference, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has found that no-shows actually cost the UK hospitality industry £16 billion a year, which is further exasperated following months of lockdown.

“Due to social distancing, restaurants are already operating at a reduced capacity, making use of every space possible. We’ve all been for dinner where the venue has tried to squeeze us in when they’re at capacity, but this cannot happen anymore under new guidelines.

“The next few months will be critical for businesses across the sector and we are urging customers to re-think before deciding not to show up for a booking. If you are unsure of whether you will be safe within a venue, please do call them to discuss their social distancing policy. If, at this stage your fears have not been eased, cancel the booking with plenty of notice to allow the venue to reallocate it.

“We have a wealth of fantastic venues within the district that need our support more than ever. If no shows continue to happen, we may lose some of these venues for good.

Jaimon George, Director at Thai Restaurant, Zen Metro, said: “As a restaurant and bar in operation for more than 23 years; we have had our fair share of no-shows. This was particularly vital after the lockdown since all hospitality venues are trying to survive and stay open. Just to give you an example; we had 31 no-shows out of 115 bookings last Saturday! We arrange staffing and prep food  based on the booking levels. This level of no-shows are just not acceptable and financially viable for any businesses. We have now put a system in place to get bookers to leave their card details when making a booking. £10 per person will be deducted if they do not show up. We hope this will have an impact on future no-shows.”

The No More No Shows campaign has been launched by recruitment consultancy Sixty Eight People with Antonia Lallement from restaurant group, Gusto Italia. Initially launched to support businesses in Greater Manchester, the campaign has quickly picked up momentum nationally, as bars and restaurants call on their customers to think about their restaurant booking before they decide not to show up.