Damian Wawrzyniak: 'no-shows nearly killed my restaurant'

The  Staff Canteen

Simon Rimmer, host of the All 4 programme Tricks of the Restaurant Trade visited Damian Wawrzyniak, chef owner of House of Feasts to talk about his campaign against no-shows for last night's programme.

The estimated cost of no-shows is up to £16 billion a year in the UK alone. with 1 in 5 people not turning up to their reservation when they book a meal out, leading an increasing number of restaurant owners to speak out against the practice. 

The chef and the man behind the petition to prevent EU citizens from having to apply for a settled status to work in the UK said his Peterborough restaurant is a distance away from the high-street, meaning bookings make up the vast majority of business, which is why no-shows almost killed his restaurant.

 “Number one, I’m a chef, so that’s my food, number two I’m the owner of the business, so, that’s my money.”

The host stressed what we already know too well, which is that no-shows add to the problem of high wages, business rates and food prices, responsible for tight profit margins. If chefs only cook according to the reservations they have, like Damian, a handful of no-shows make the difference between making a profit and a loss.

Damian's #StopNoShow campaign on social media gained support from restaurateurs and restaurant chains around the world, including the Casual Dining Group – the company behind Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo  - and contributed to raising public awareness of the issue.

Taking credit card details is an increasingly popular solution – and one which Damian Wawrzyniak has adopted and for which he says he has received full support from his customers.

“Since we started taking credit card details, there’s zero no shows, the restaurant is full, I’m happy.”

Online reservation systems, as opposed to the traditional phone call of the past, are thought to be the cause of so many people failing to attend their bookings, because they don’t have to confront the problem in person.

Platforms like OpenTable have made it impossible to book several restaurants on the same night – and operate a “four strikes” policy whereby customers can be blacklisted from using the site if they fail to show up for more than four reservations a year.

Is this is enough to tackle the problem? Does more need to be done to tackle the issue of no-shows? Leave  your answers in the comments!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th June 2019

Damian Wawrzyniak: 'no-shows nearly killed my restaurant'