There’s been a rash of no-shows in restaurants around the country – how do Chiswick’s restaurants fare?
27 July, 2020 / by Matt Smith
Restaurants across the country are reporting an increase in the amount of no-shows.
Would-be diners are making dinner reservations and then just not turning up, which is creating frustration and anger amongst restaurateurs, especially now that with social distancing, restaurants are able to lay fewer covers.
The Guardian recently reported that Tom Kerridge, of Kerridge’s Bar and Grill in central London, had branded 27 no-show diners as “disgraceful, shortsighted and downright unhelpful”.
The comments were later backed by several other Michelin star chefs, but it’s not just the fine-dining sector which is being affected. Gusto, a small chain of Italian restaurants in the north, Midlands and Scotland, reported 800 no-shows in the first four days after reopening.
The Chiswick Calendar has been speaking to several local restaurants, to find out whether Chiswick is bucking the national trend or whether no-shows are truly having having a serious impact on businesses, and we found mixed results.
Image above: empty chairs inside Indian restaurant Potli
Images above: Sham’s exterior, food on the menu in Sham’s
Sham’s is a family run Lebanese restaurant offering all the popular Lebanese main dishes and cold and hot mezzes.
“We sometimes get a lot of reservations for example on Friday, but they don’t turn up and they don’t call us” a spokesperson for the restaurant said.
Sham’s uses a booking system on the app Quandoo, which allows you to conveniently book tables at eateries in your local area.
“They book through our Quandoo and on the app they can cancel, they can delay they can change they can do anything but they don’t do this”.
Asked whether they had a cancellation fee to mitigate some of the loss of revenue from no-shows the spokesperson said “we do, but only £2 per head”.
Images above: Côte Brasserie exterior, menu item – dry aged cote de boeuf
Côte is a modern, all-day French brasserie chain. They serve regional specialities and traditional classics.
Over the lockdown period, they launched a home delivery service which delivers chilled bistro meals ready for your oven or freezer.
The manager of Chiswick’s branch said that they aren’t having an issue with no-shows.
Instead, they are having trouble with their booking system not registering reservations properly, so if you’re planning dine here it’s best to call back to double check.
“We don’t get too many no-shows, but you know the problem we have with reservations is that guests are coming and they are saying they booked over the phone and we cannot see the reservation and this is happening very often recently” she said.
Asked whether the restaurant has been busy since re-opening, she said “no, not really”.
Images above: Potli exterior, Potli interior
Polit is a modern Indian eatery with colourful furnishings and terrace, serving street food-influenced cuisine.
Potli is rated by many critics, bloggers & reputed magazines as one of the best Indian restaurants in London.
Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, the manager Ashish said no-shows were becoming a major issue.
“Oh yes, oh yes we have a lot of issues yeah. A lot of people cancelling, especially on the weekends. Business is not very good so far”.
The restaurant doesn’t have any cancellation fee or deposit system in place as of yet, as no-shows have never been an issue in the past
Ashish said he may be forced to introduce one if business does not pick up and the high amount of cancellations continue.
“In the future if these things continue, then we might have to ask for a deposit in future, because there’s a lot of helpers and we need to manage the place” he said.
Franco Manca is a pizza chain selling Neapolitan-style sourdough pizzas with organic ingredients and homemade lemonade.
The manager, Carlo, said that no-shows aren’t an issue because the branch isn’t taking reservations and purely relying on passing trade.
“We don’t do reservations for the moment, we’re just doing walk-ins, outside we have the ‘virtual queue’ where you scan yourself in” he said.
To help with social distancing, Franco Manca’s restaurants are operating a ‘Virtual Queue’ system.
If you’re outside or close to a Franco Manca branch, you can join the queue by providing your name and phone number.
You’ll then be provided with an estimated waiting time and be sent you an SMS when your table is nearly ready.
“So, actually at the moment we don’t bring any reservations in, so we don’t have any problem with the reservations”.
Images above: Foubert’s exterior, Foubert’s interior
Foubert’s is a traditional family business which has been in Chiswick for more than 40 years. They sell hearty, homemade Italian food and they’re best known for their ice cream. The owners, Luciano and Maria, have been churning ice-cream and serving generations of West London families since 1978.
When asked whether no-shows had been an issue, Maria said:
“No, no, no the local people have been very good. We are very appreciative, all turning up. People have been very good”.
‘Closed until further notice’
The Chiswick Calendar tried to reach some of the other large restaurant chains present in the area, to see if no-shows are affecting them in anyway. Several are either closed or offering a reduced service due to the ongoing dip in demand.
Pizza Express on Chiswick High Road is still only offering takeaways, dine-in still isn’t an option yet. The same goes for Gourmet Burger Kitchen, also on the High Road. Bills are still ‘temporarily closed until further notice’, with an as yet unknown opening date.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Where to eat outside in Chiswick
See also: Green shoots appearing in the High Rd