Educate, not alienate our customers
“So what’s the solution to no shows? We believe banning customers is really a form of publicly naming and shaming and it really isn’t the answer” says Burt Admiraal, CEO of H&L Australia. He firmly believes “we should educate not alienate our customers”.
But is banning the answer to what really is a bigger issue?
There’s a lack of public awareness about the effects a no-show has on a restaurant. It is the industry as a whole that should take the responsibility to educate customers on what the real implications are for restaurants.
Restaurants turn away paying customers, over-cater and roster staff in response to actual bookings received. The end result hurts through loss of revenue and costs that can never be recovered.
Did we get it wrong?
While no-shows are causing real strain on profit for Australian restaurants, it doesn’t mean we should be publicly humiliating customers according to Admiraal.
Not all bookings come through a booking system. Phone bookings still account for over 68% of all restaurant bookings. In some cases it may be a simple staff error in recording the wrong date or time against a customer request. So we must be careful to establish the real cause of the no show – did we get it wrong or is there a history attached to that particular diner?
The use of a follow up email with an approach like “Oops did we get it wrong?” is a good way to interact and reconnect with the customer.
A booking system can assist in reducing no shows by ensuring reminders are sent and confirmation is sought for an online booking.
One of the many advantages of H&L’s BooKBooK™ system is that it centrally manages all booking types - online, phone and walk-ins and therefore these reminders can be sent for both online and phone bookings. But the reality is, even when restaurants go to extensive measures to confirm customer bookings, not everyone will show up.
Putting Restaurants back in control of their bookings
A valuable tool for restaurants looking to tackle the “no show” problem is deposits that are based on customer status. BooKBook™ system has the ability to recognise known no-show offenders and request a deposit prior to confirming the booking. This ensures that the diner is making a true commitment to their reservation. It’s simple, cost-effective technology designed to put restaurants back in control of their bookings. “Investing in a system like this keeps a respectful restaurant-customer relationship” says Admiraal.
Don’t alienate your guests by banning them. Improve your booking system, your communication channels and educate and build relationships with your customer base. You will get a much better response and restaurants as well as customers will be the winners in the long run.
By Burt Admiraal