The scourge of no-shows on the local restaurant industry – Have your say!

The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo pride ourselves on being the voice for top local restaurants.

The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo pride ourselves on being the voice for top local restaurants. As such we feel duty bound to create awareness of an issue which is plaguing restaurateurs.  On behalf of Malta’s top survey rated restaurants whom we represent, we would like to start a conversation about how best to stem the regular frustrating occurrence of patrons not honouring previously booked table reservations.

The team of foodies behind restaurantsmalta are taking up the mantle to champion a cause which has long been an affliction for an industry which is very close to our hearts. It is clear to us that restaurateurs are unable to tackle the reservation conundrum individually. If a solution were to be implemented across the board this may deter diners from not bothering to cancel reservations which they do not end up utilising.  Although wherever there is a reservation system there has always been a percentage of no shows, we are confident that if we unite together with the catering industry we should be able to find a solution to this vexatious issue.

We wish to show our solidarity with the frustration that this situation creates for restaurant businesses by highlighting the flip side of the coin for enthusiastic foodies. On busy nights this proves even more irksome as restaurant managers find themselves turning away diners- only to discover that a couple of previously reserved, and recently confirmed, tables don’t show up! At a time when restaurants are already struggling to stay afloat, this blatant disregard for honouring one’s commitment is causing the restaurant industry to haemorrhage profits which they can ill afford.

The Definitive(ly) Good Guide team is in the unique position-as both diners out, as well as collaborators with leading restaurant owners, to work closely with our top rated restaurateurs to discuss possible remedies to alleviate this situation. Marvin Gauci, catering entrepreneur and gastronomic ambassador, tells us that, although customarily he mitigates the problem of no-shows by having a structured set-up to follow-up with reservations, on special high traffic occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, he usually requests a deposit upon booking. While he understands that people change their mind and problems crop up, Marvin stresses the importance for each side to have consideration for the other party. In his opinion, the no-show issue mainly stems from people sometimes booking multiple restaurants to keep their options open. The problem for the restaurants arises when diners out then make up their mind at the last minute- without even bothering to notify the restaurants in question!

Michael Diacono, of Giuseppi’s fame, is furiously vocal about this challenge facing local restaurateurs. His recent post on social media, in which his exasperation is palpable, captured the ire of many leading catering establishments.

Reduced tables and opening hours. We confirmed your reservation with you this morning. We refused countless bookings. Yet two tables don’t show and don’t pick up when called on the same number used this morning!

Amidst the hundreds of sympathetic reactions and comments there were some valid suggestions raised. Perhaps taking a deposit upon booking would deter those who had a tendency towards this trend? Blacklisting clients who don’t turn up for a booking was another piece of advice. Empathising restaurateurs rallied in support at this widespread problem affecting their profitability.

When we searched outside our shores on counter measures to the no show conundrum, it became clear that the practice of taking credit card details upon reservation, in order to hold the table for diners, is becoming increasingly common in cities across Europe. This would serve one of two purposes- either to take a deposit upon booking, or to forfeit a cancellation fee if the reservation was not utilised, or cancelled with reasonable notice given. Naturally there would be a degree of empathy if there were a legitimate reason for cancelling a reservation- but just not calling to cancel is not acceptable practise.

Now more than ever before, after the hardships faced over the last twelve months, this aggravation affecting local eateries needs to be addressed urgently. By creating awareness of this disrespectful habit of not observing previously reserved bookings, we at restaurantsmalta hope to change the landscape of dining out for the better.

“At a time when restaurateurs are struggling to operate within the confines of  unprecedented measures- such as shorter opening times and less covers”, Managing Director Lisa Grech passionately pronounced “this regrettable vice needs to be addressed. As the number one authority on restaurants in Malta and Gozo we are in a unique position to assist them in this quest”.

Join the conversation by letting us know your opinion- leave your comments & share the relevant social media post on our Instagram & Facebook page, to have your say and be entered into our prize draw to win a meal for two at the stunning Giuseppi’s! Would you be willing to pay a deposit or fork out a cancellation fee if you didn’t make use of a table reservation, or did not cancel it in sufficient time? We want to hear from you before the end of March deadline!

Share & comment to let us know how you think this situation can be improved & show your support for local restaurants to be in with a chance of winning this romantic prize!

Terms & Conditions apply: Complimentary meal for two prize may only be utilised on a weekday. Beverages not included.

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