Eater L.A. has an interview with the owner of area restaurant Red Medicine, which has been using its Twitter account to call out people who make reservations but don’t have the courtesy to show up or call to cancel.
“Invariably, the assholes who decide to no-show, or cancel 20 minutes before their reservation (because one of their friends made a reservation somewhere else) ruin restaurants (as a whole) for the people who make a reservation and do their best to honor it,” writes the owner.” Either restaurants are forced to overbook and make the guests (that actually showed up) wait, or they do what we do, turn away guests for some prime-time slots because they’re booked, and then have empty tables.”
He says the business has previously tried requiring a credit card to hold reservations, but “there’s a contingent of people who just won’t put down a card, regardless of if they plan on coming or not.”
As for doing away with reservations altogether, the owner says his restaurant would be missing out on the business from special-occasion dining where customers want to know for certain that their party will get a table at the time they reserved.
He tells Eater that he Tweeted out the names of no-shows after a particularly nasty string of phantom reservations.
“[It] really wasn’t fair to the guests who took a 6:15 or 9:30 reservation instead of the 7:30 or 8:00 they wanted,” he explains about the no-shows. “I was frustrated, so I blew them up. They probably don’t know, and if they know, they probably don’t care (or they would have come or called in the first place), but such is life.”
Much like the shop with the $5 “just looking” fee that we wrote about yesterday, we can understand the frustration that causes a business to react like this. But Tweeting out the names of no-shows may backfire, as some customers may balk at making a reservation at Red Medicine, even if they have every intention of making the date.
On the other hand, it could help nudge reservation-holders to at least call to cancel when they realize they won’t be able to get to the restaurant on time or when their plans change.