The Restaurants Association of Ireland is calling upon its members to request nonrefundable deposits from customers who wish to book tables in advance in a bid to prevent people from not showing up when they're supposed to.
As reported by thetimes.co.uk, RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins stated, "It’s a mission of ours to make sure no-shows are stamped out in 2018. Around four months ago we wrote to our members about making sure they would have a booking policy in place, effectively to start taking deposits that are non-refundable if customers don’t turn up. We were gearing it towards groups of four or more, but we were leaving it up to individual restaurants to set the parameters. If every restaurant does it, it will be effective."
Cummins's comments arrive in the wake of complaints from several Irish restaurateurs about large numbers of last minute cancellations and customers failing to show up for their bookings during the Christmas season.
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According to executive head chef at Greenes Restaurant in Cork Bryan McCarthy, his venue lost 30% of its potential customers on one Friday in December as a result of bookings not going ahead. This has prompted Greenes to initiate a policy of taking deposits for all bookings on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as for any booking for four or more people on weekdays.
Commenting on the issue, owner of L’Ecrivain in Dublin Derry Clarke said, "Restaurants are going to have to get together and decide what to do because it is becoming a massive problem all over the country. People are definitely booking several restaurants for Saturday night and then taking their pick with their friends on the evening, which is very frustrating."
Both L’Ecrivain and Chapter One in Dublin charge discretionary fees of €50 per person for no-shows or cancellations with less than 48 hours' notice if the table cannot be re-allocated, while two Michelin star eatery Patrick Guilbaud charges no-shows and those who cancel with less than 48 hours' notice €100 per person. Other Irish restaurants with similar policies and which require customers to pay a deposit upon booking include the capital's Heron & Grey and Shanahan's on the Green, and Aniar of Galway.