You’ve made a booking for a large group in your restaurant. At the designated time, you prepare the table, polish the glasses, and wait for your customer, until you realize: They haven’t arrived, aren’t coming, and you have another no-show.

From the wasted preparation time to the lost revenue, “no-shows” can be extremely damaging to any restaurant. Consider an equation with 10 “no-shows” a day; if the average value of each missed table is 20-50 euros, it costs 4,800-12,000 a month in lost revenue.

So, a restaurant can reduce “no-shows” in some ways:

Use an Online Booking System

As clients become smarter with their smart devices, restaurants should also be more contemporary and modern. Using an online reservation system, such as Tablein, you can reduce “no-shows” easily by sending automatic reminders to clients with links to cancel or change booking hours. This would be difficult to do with a paper book. The system provides automatic confirmations and reminders to the client’s phone or email. Easy cancellation, reminders, and psychological nudges help clients to feel more responsible for canceling online or even amending their reservation. They are, then, less likely to cancel in the future or become a no-show.

Also, an online booking system has synchronization with phone or computer calendars, so after confirmation, your customer can set their lunch or dinner time in their calendar by clicking one button. This helps to streamline their own scheduling tasks.

Ask for Deposits
Asking for deposits from clients can result in a decrease of “no-shows” even further. You can ask that they pay a deposit at the time the reservation is made. If guests need to change their reservation, they can, but the deposit is non-refundable for unexplained no-shows. This helps to make restaurants more efficient, so chefs can plan ahead. Tablein integration with PayPal allows you to do this easily and quickly. You can ask for deposits during peak hours, on Friday or Saturday evenings, or only for events and celebrations like Valentine’s or Mother’s Day.

Turn Charges Into a Gift Card
If you charge the customer for a no-show, you can send a gift card which the customer may use with you at a later date. In that case, your restaurant doesn’t have losses, your potential client is happier, and they are more likely spend money in addition to the gift card next time.

Limit Reservations
One of the extreme methods for reducing the number of no-shows is to eliminate restaurant reservations entirely. It means there won’t be any potential for no-shows. However, it can be a flawed solution if the restaurant is not very popular. Not accepting reservations works best for restaurants with mid- to low-priced menus, as customers at higher-end restaurants are likely to bristle at being told to wait hours for a table.

If you’d like to find out how an online booking app can help you reduce no-shows – you can try Tablein for free. Just fill in the short and simple form below to start your 14-day free, no-obligation trial.