Leeds restaurants ask for 'respect' as no-shows pile strain on 'decimated' businesses

A Leeds restaurant owner has called on diners to show 'decency and respect' and let them know if they are not going to make their reservation.
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Bars and restaurants across the city, which have been severely hit by lockdown, are reporting an increase in 'no-shows'.

It's piling extra pressure on venues, some of which are on the brink after months of losing money.

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It comes after top chef Tom Kerridge criticised 27 “selfish” and “disgraceful” customers who did not turn up at the Corinthia Hotel in central London without letting the restaurant know.

Sarto, Duke Street.Sarto, Duke Street.
Sarto, Duke Street.

Dave Olejnik, owner of pasta restaurant Sarto, said: "What we call ‘no shows’, which is people giving us absolutely no notice at all that they won’t be taking their reservation that evening, are always financially damaging for a hospitality business but right now we’re really asking folks to please let us know if they can’t make it.

"Sarto is currently operating at 30 per cent of the capacity it had pre Covid-19.

"If a table of three doesn’t show up that’s 10 per cent of the restaurant sat empty, but we’ve already committed to staffing and stocking food for that table.

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Mr Olejnik, who also owns Laynes Espresso, added: "In short, it’s a big money loser and right now there is no room to lose money as many of us are financially decimated.

Dave Olejnik at Laynes Espresso (video: LeedsBID).Dave Olejnik at Laynes Espresso (video: LeedsBID).
Dave Olejnik at Laynes Espresso (video: LeedsBID).

"The least we can do is expect a level of decency and respect from the public just as they do from staff when they do attend."

City centre restaurant La Taberna also said via social media it had experienced problems with no shows.

Joanna Myers, who runs The Swine that Dines, posted: "Seeing a distressing amount of restaurants and bars reporting no shows today.

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"A problem that nearly broke us two years ago before we introduced a no show charge.

"Makes us very reluctant to reopen with what can only be four or five tables.

"A £10 charge will not be enough in current times."

Sarto has floated the idea of taking deposits to try to tackle the problem.

Some restaurants, such as Ox Club at Headrow House and Tattu, take credit card details and charge customers a fee if they do not turn up.

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Posting on Instagram to address the customers who failed to show at his bar and grill, Kerridge said: "This industry, like many others, is on the verge of collapse.

"Your behaviour is disgraceful, shortsighted and down right unhelpful..... all of you “no shows” in all restaurants up and down the country are adding to the issues already being faced.... YOU are putting peoples jobs more at risk..... we put staff levels to the number of covers booked and when you fail to turn up, it now costs us, which in turn will force very uncomfortable and hard decisions about staffing levels.

"You are the worst kind of guest, and that is “selfish”.

"I hope you have a good look at yourselves."

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