Let’s say no to no-shows and give our hospitality owners the respect they deserve - YEP opinion

I’m sure I’m not alone in my sentiment and sympathy that hospitality has been one of the worst hit industries of the pandemic.

Sunday, 27th June 2021, 4:45 am
Leeds when hospitality reopened

Restaurants bars and pubs have closed, opened again, closed and opened again with restrictions.

Most, admiringly complicit and understanding about the potential risks their venues could bring.

For weeks now since the most recent reopening of hospitality, it’s been difficult to get a booking pretty much anywhere.

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Long gone are the days of deciding where in Leeds city centre you want to spend your Friday night in the late hours of Friday afternoon.

Long gone are the days of spontaneously going out for a last minute dinner on a Saturday night when you had convinced yourself all week you were going to stay in for a quiet one.

But, long gone are not the days when these restaurants, bars and pubs were the lifeblood of some of our fellow community members.

Behind every hospitality venue is a person, a family, a livelihood - and that, especially now, must not be forgotten.

For many of these owners, the past year and a half has been nothing but a struggle - financially, for safety, and for having to persuade people to come back to their venues over others.

And although it might seem when we look online that venues are brimming with bookings and business is booming, there’s more going on for many that we may not initially realise.

Just this week I spoke with Leeds councillor Alan Lamb who owns restaurants in Wetherby and Kirk Deighton.

One of his venues had six parties of no-shows on Father’s Day last weekend, after having turned multiple enquiries away because he thought the restaurant was fully booked.

Some had paid deposits and were not phased by their losses, but none had the courtesy to make a simple phone call to cancel.

That phone call, merely a few minutes out of one’s day, could have been the difference between what ended up as a really difficult day for Mr Lamb and what could have been a “bumper day” as he said Father’s Day should be.

It’s not just owners, those no-shows impacted staff who were relying on that extra bit of cash to get them through but had to be put out of work due to lack of custom.

And Mr Lamb, his chefs, his staff and his livelihood are not alone in being let down.

The owner of Manjt’s Kitchen this week also shared on social media their Father’s Day distress.

12 had made bookings, only three arrived - again, after having turned paying customers away.

Our restaurant owners understand that life happens, that plans change and so do bookings, but let’s give them the respect they deserve by telling them.