Chef: 'We Had 450 No Shows and Cancellations in a Month'


A chef in Scotland has been forced to start taking deposits at his independent restaurant after 450 no shows and cancellations in one month alone.

Mark Greenaway, whose eponymous restaurant in Edinburgh comes with a Michelin Plate recommendation, revealed the terrifying statistics in a post on Facebook recently and it's an issue that's all too familiar to many in the industry.

Looking back through his books, Greenway realised that in December 2017 the restaurant had had 399 cancellations and 51 no shows, and that on one evening in September, 22 people, all of whom had confirmed, did not show up. The restaurant seats just 42.

Greenaway has now made the reluctant decision to start charging a £30 deposit per person for lunch and £50 deposit for dinner. The restaurant currently charges £50 for a four-course set menu.

“This is something we have toiled with, believe me and not something we want to do, but as an independent restaurant we feel the time has come that we can't simply ignore what is going on in the industry,” he writes. “We feel we now need to act to put an end to this lunacy of customers booking tables and simply just not turning up. We already have a confirmation policy in place and confirm all tables of all sizes every day, however this changes nothing it would seem.”

Greenaway says deposits are the only way to secure the livelihood of the business and feels the problem is down to people blanket booking restaurants.

“What we are doing is not outside the norm in the industry … however for us it's a huge step in securing the livelihood of the business and its staff," he continues. "Hopefully this will discourage the glut of customers that seem to book 2 or 3 restaurants at a time and make a decision on the evening of where they are going to eat, this attitude must stop, and it must stop quickly … If you book a football match, or a concert, or a comedy show and don't show up you forfeit your ticket, why should eating at a restaurant be any different?”

No-shows are a huge problem for independent restaurants and it even led to one naming and shaming its no-shows on social media recently. Some restaurants have now turned to pre-paid ticketing systems, such as Tock, to help tackle the problem.