Dean Banks calls on fellow restaurateurs to take a stand against no-shows

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Tired of repeatedly making losses because guests don't show up for their reservations, chef Dean Banks will be taking credit card details for all bookings at his restaurant in Fife, Scotland. 

The Victor of last year's Masterchef: The Professionals competition opened his 60-seater restaurant, Haar at Kinnettles Hotel in St Andrews, a mere two months ago. 

On Saturday night, the chef Tweeted that he had 14 no-shows - 25 percent of his custom - for whom he had closed off his bookings system, causing him to make a loss of almost £1,000 of revenue. 

He said: "From now on at Haar Restaurant even a booking for one person will require card details."

The chef told The Scotsman that golf package companies were to blame, as they book multiple restaurants for their guests and ask them to choose at the last minute, rarely bothering to call back and cancel. 

As a result, instead of having spare tables to accommodate last-minute walk-ins or reservations, the restaurant blocked off the tables. 

He said: “We could have filled the place five times over on Saturday, but we had to turn people away.” 

The chef called on other venues in the Scottish city to speak out against the golf package companies.

"I'm not going to stand for that." 

Dean Banks will now be taking card details for all reservations. He said that he would not penalise people with valid reasons for cancelling, but wouldn't hesitate when it came to no shows.

“We serve a fixed tasting menu on Saturday nights which is £65 per person. If you don’t call to cancel and simply don’t show, you’ll be charged £65 a head."

“As I said to my general manager, if you want to go see your favourite band at the O2, spend £100 on a ticket, and then decide not to go, you lose your money - restaurants should be exact same.”

What do you think chefs? Should guests be charged for no-shows? What role should online reservation websites play in making sure guests either make it or cancel their bookings?

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 21st May 2019

Dean Banks calls on fellow restaurateurs to take a stand against no-shows