How to Reduce Restaurant Reservation No-Shows

Every restaurant has them...

The prime time reservation at 8pm on a Saturday that just doesn't arrive.

And of course, they don't let you know they're not coming!

You have no idea if they just forgot, were ill, or simply changed their minds.

But what you do know is that you now have a table sat empty that you could have re-booked if only you'd known.

No-shows cost money - sometimes hundreds of pounds every single week!

How to Reduce Restaurant Reservation No-Shows

In fact, in a recent article in The Guardian, one Peterborough restaurant owner said that no-shows had cost his business £3000 in just one weekend!

How many no-shows have you had in the last month? How much revenue have you lost because of them?  And do you do anything to reduce your no-shows?

Surprisingly, many restaurant owners I've spoken to, feel that no-shows of 10% to 20% of total bookings is a common occurrence but they generally don't do anything to try to reduce that number. 

There are however, some very simple methods you can use though to reduce no-shows in your restaurant, so here are a few of them for you to consider...

How To Reduce Restaurant Reservation No-Shows:

  • When the customer books, ask them this question: "If for any reason you need to cancel your booking, will you please call us to let us know?"
    This sounds so simple, but asking the question has been proven to increase the number of people that will let you know when they need to cancel. If you take absolutely nothing else from this article, please start asking this question and I'll guarantee that more people will start letting you know if they need to cancel their booking!

  • Ask for a deposit at the time of booking
    This has it's downsides as some people will just not be willing to consider leaving a deposit at the time of booking, but some restaurants have used the deposit very successfully to reduce cancellations and cover part of the cost when there is a no-show.

  • Take a credit card on booking and charge for no-shows
    This is similar to taking a deposit but you only actually charge the card if they don't show. Again, some customers may not be willing to give a card in advance and of course you need to have a system that allows you to do this.

  • Send a confirmation of their booking
    Many restaurant bookings are done over the phone and so the customer is left to simply remember the date and time that they have booked. Sending a confirmation of the booking by email or text message, serves to make the booking more "official" in the mind of the customer, and also gives them something to refer back to if they are unsure about where or when they've booked.

  • Give a reminder just prior to the reservation date
    Giving a reminder a day or so before the reservation date is one of the very best methods of a/ reducing no-shows and b/ finding out in advance if the customer needs to cancel their booking. The reminder could be done by phone (if you or your staff have time to call everyone), by email or by text message.

Whichever method you choose, I highly recommend that you take the time to implement a system that you repeat for every single booking you take. These methods really do work in reducing the number of no-shows and so you are losing money by not implementing them in your restaurant!

Want My Help to Reduce Your No-Shows by Over 83%?

If you'd like help in reducing your no-shows, then you may be interested in my Restaurant Reservation Reminders system as it automates booking confirmations and booking reminders for you at a very low cost!


It has been reducing no-shows by over 83% for my restaurant clients, so I'd like to prove how effective it can be for your restaurant by giving you a full week's trial, at absolutely no cost!

Here's just a few details of the system...

  • Takes just seconds to enter the details of each reservation
  • The customer immediately receives a text (and/or email) confirming their booking
  • One day prior to their booking, they receive a further text (and/or email) reminding them of their booking
  • Each text message and email has a link to a web-page with their full reservation information and importantly... methods for them to easily and quickly contact you if anything has changed, or they don't want their booking any more.
  • A highly effective method that is proven to reduce no-shows 
  • All for less than 15p per booking!

To see full details of the Restaurant Reservation Reminders system, to try a demo version, and to sign up for your free trial, simply click the button below.

I guarantee that it will dramatically reduce your reservation no-shows and increase your restaurant profits!

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