'It's just common courtesy'

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd July 2020

Why, after months in lockdown, do customers still think no-shows are acceptable?

We asked award-winning chef and owner of The Shore in Cornwall, Bruce Rennie - who has had several no-shows at his restaurant since reopening on July 11th - for his take. 

Having had customers appeal to his good nature, asking him not to charge them for their meal even though they didn't turn up, he said: "This is hospitality. It goes against every instinct we have." 

However, he added: "We live in a country where people think they are entitled to more than others," questioning why it is acceptable to give assurances to theatres, shows and train companies, but not to restaurants.

'It's going to be a hell of a lot more difficult this year'

Echoing the words of chefs Tom Kerridge and Paul Ainsworth, both of whom have been vocal on the subject of no-shows, he said: "Just ring us and cancel. Nobody says you have to honour every reservation you ever make, but it's just common courtesy to let us know." 

Because of Covid-19 and his restaurant's seasonal location, he said, "by now we're already down by 50 percent" on the same period last year, putting plans to reopen as a viable business in March at stake. 

With just a 12 seat capacity, in line with the government's social distancing guidelines, he said: "It's going to be a hell of a lot more difficult this year." 

While the chef currently doesn't take a deposit upon reservations, just bank card details, he said that should it come to it, he would be left with no choice.

"People think because I'm a business owner that I earn a lot of money. I don't. When I employed part-time staff, they earned more than I did," he said.

Touching on TV personality Allegra Benitah's comments - that no-shows are somehow justified because "people are scared and frightened to go out again" post Covid-19 - when she appeared on Good Morning Britain earlier this week, he said: "She looks like someone who speaks some sense. But to say that it's okay not to turn up for a reservation, that just shows a sense of entitlement.

"She sounded like someone who hasn't turned up for reservations herself." 

The chef dismissed her claims that no-shows are due to fears over going out due to the pandemic as "nonesense," but acknowledged that it is positive that the conversation about whether desposits should be taken on reservations is taking place at all. 

"It raises some horrible arguments but the fact that people are talking about it gives me some hope that things will change." 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd July 2020

'It's just common courtesy'