How to effectively combat no-shows in your restaurants

Published 01.11.2024 - Last update 06.14.2024
empty restaurant
Table of contents
  1. How to effectively combat no-shows in your restaurants
  2. The consequences of no-shows for restauranteurs
  3. Try TheFork for free
  4. Reducing no-shows with TheFork Manager

How to effectively combat no-shows in your restaurants

No-shows are an issue in all restaurants, creating a range of financial and logistical problems. TheFork’s all-in-one restaurant management software, TheFork Manager, is equipped with effective tools to combat no-shows and has helped our partner restaurants achieve an impressive no-show rate of 0.8%

Understanding the reasons why no-shows happen is the key to effectively preventing them. Some customers forget their reservations, especially when made well in advance without reminders. Others may not show up due to genuinely unforeseen circumstances, such as personal emergencies, or sudden work commitments that prevent them from cancelling. Some customers will just simply change their minds and not inform you.

Unfulfilled reservations can also result from poor communication between restaurants and customers. If reminders are not sent effectively or reservation details are unclear, customers can easily be misinformed and become no-shows.

Additionally, restaurants without a clear reservation and cancellation policy are likely to suffer from no-shows. Without any consequences for failing to honour reservations, customers may not take their bookings seriously.

The consequences of no-shows for restauranteurs

Restauranteurs have to face potential revenue losses when reserved tables sit empty – losing out on both the income from the reserved customers and the chance for walk-ins to fill those empty spots. The loss from no-shows can range from 5% to 20%**, affecting all kinds of restaurants from neighbourhood establishments to large groups and restaurant chains.

No-shows in restaurants also create logistical problems, including challenges in managing stock. Unfulfilled reservations often lead to substantial food wastage; as a restaurant owner, you plan your stocks and food supplies based on the expected number of customers, and when they don’t show up, it results in additional costs and potential food wastage.

That’s not all. No-shows can cause disorganisation within restaurants affecting both staff and facility management. Restaurateurs often anticipate the number of expected customers and plan staff accordingly. When no-shows happen, it can lead to overstaffing, with more personnel on-site than needed to handle customer footfall that never materialises. This overstaffing becomes a significant cost for restauranteurs who are then obliged to pay additional staff, cutting into profit margins.

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Reducing no-shows with TheFork Manager

TheFork Manager is an all-in-one management tool specifically designed for restaurateurs to help you centralise all your reservations, maximise your occupancy rate, communicate and easily retain customers. It can also help restauranteurs effectively combat no-shows and reduce their no-show rates to as little as 0.8% with these effective tools.

Activate the Credit Card Guarantee

Requesting a credit card guarantee is a simple and effective way to tackle unfulfilled reservations. When customers make an advance payment or provide their bank details, they are more likely to honour their reservations as they know they will be charged if they fail to do so.

With TheFork Manager, you have all the tools to customise this feature according to your business needs. You can decide how much to charge, decide how many people the credit card guarantee applies to and set the cancellation period before any charges are incurred. Activating the credit card guarantee decreases no-shows by 65% and has an added benefit for restaurateurs – you receive compensation even if the customer is a no-show.

Send Reservation Reminders for Free

With TheFork Manager, restauranteurs can send automatic reservation reminders via email and/or SMS to reduce the number of no-shows. You can send messages a few days before the reservation date and the costs are completely covered by TheFork and not billed to you!

Allow Your Customers to Cancel Reservations Easily

A quick cancellation process can help you reduce the number of no-shows at your restaurant. When you send confirmation and automatic reservation reminders with TheFork Manager, your customers can easily cancel their table with just one click if they can’t make it.

Implement a Waiting List

You can create a waiting list for customers without reservations with TheFork Manager. This way, if a reserved table goes unfulfilled, you can easily assign it to a customer on the waiting list and maximise your table usage while minimising revenue losses.

Identify Customer Reliability

With TheFork Manager, you can assign a reliability index to each customer based on their previous bookings. The index (represented by a green, orange, or red dot) will help you see if a customer is likely to be a no-show. If a customer’s reliability index is low, you can take precautionary measures like sending reminders or calling them to curb unfulfilled reservations.

Ready to reduce no-shows in your restaurant? Ask our team of experts for advice and assistance in implementing TheFork Manager's various tools.

*Data observed on TheFork reservations made with a bank card imprint in France in September 2022.

**TheFork 2022 Article, link

Table of contents
  1. How to effectively combat no-shows in your restaurants
  2. The consequences of no-shows for restauranteurs
  3. Try TheFork for free
  4. Reducing no-shows with TheFork Manager
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