This app says it has found the solution to no-shows

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Many have pointed the finger at online bookings applications for exacerbating the issue of no-shows, claiming they are to blame for the hundreds of thousands of pounds lost every year to diners not turning up to their restaurant reservations.  

But what if an application provided the solution, too?

There are several ways for restaurants to address the problem.

Taking customers' credit card details when they book is one of them; but for some restaurants, this is too much of a commitment to ask.

In a bid to help restaurants and stifle criticism, companies like OpenTable have started imposing a strike system on customers - banning them from making reservations after three no-shows - and prevents customers from making reservations at two restaurants on the same day. 

Another way of dealing with it is to banish reservations altogether by adopting a walk-in only policy. But with this, customers may be deterred by queues, choosing to dine somewhere they can book. 

A new application is hoping to change that. Founded in 2018, WalkIn lets customers 'queue remotely,' notifying them when a table is free and giving them ten minutes to show up before it is given away - thereby eliminating the need to hold tables for diners that don't turn up.

The company claims to have saved users 36 million minutes of queuing since it was founded and is aiming to seat 2.5 million people by the end of the year.

Most notable though is how much money is says it has saved restaurants: on average users have seen their takings rise by 15 percent a night on average since adopting the app. 

Speaking to The Evening Standard, co-founder and CEO at WalkIn, Amos Teshuva, said:"Bookings constantly fail to show up, which means busy restaurants have had to make people wait in line to avoid empty tables. Not because the restaurant wants to, but because they have had to."

"WalkIn is changing that by giving restaurants and diners all the benefits of bookings with none of the drawbacks of no-shows. We want to get to a place where people no longer have to spend hours waiting outside a restaurant getting bored and tired." 

The Breakfast Club, Flat Iron, Kricket, Pastaio, Din Tai Fung and Pizza Pilgrims are a handful of the 40 London restaurants that have started working with the company so far. 

The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton said that the impact of using the app was immediate.

"Sales have increased, customers are much happier and our staff bought in - win win."

There is of course the drawback that the app is only available to London restaurants, not to mention that it is only likely to be useful to busy restaurants - not providing a solution to those who suffer the most from no-shows. 

What do you think chefs? Would this work at your restaurant? Do you think could help curb the impact of no-shows?

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 26th June 2019

This app says it has found the solution to no-shows