The industry has united in a call for 'no more no-shows', after customers failing to turn up for bookings blighted its opening weeks and was described as a "gross act of negligence on the part of the customer".
Tom Kerridge, Paul Ainsworth, Andrew McKenzie and Nisha Katona are among those who have made personal pleas to the public not to leave bookings open if they cannot attend. Many more have shared messages on social media using the hashtag #nomorenoshows calling on customers to cancel.
Katona, founder of Mowgli restaurant group, wrote on Twitter: "For the sake of the restaurants you love please no more no-shows. Across Mowgli we have around 200 No Shows per night – we paid rent without income. We have honoured our staff –we are on our knees in hospitality in every way begging you no more no shows."
The hashtag #nomorenoshows and an image explaining to customers why they must cancel (see picture) was created earlier this week by founder of hospitality recruitment consultancy Sixty Eight People, Abi Dunn, and Antonia Lallement, brand sales manager at Gusto, who told The Caterer last week how the casual dining group had seen 270 no-shows across nine venues on its opening day.
The pair had hoped to spread awareness in Manchester, but their artwork and messaging has since been shared across the country and is set to appear on billboards in both Manchester and London.
Dunn told The Caterer: "Everybody has a glimmer of hope around reopening and for people to go through that disappointment and heartache again just really got to me. We thought about what we could do and thought if we could do this in Manchester and just 100 people share it that would be great, but it's gone crazy.
"It's great and hopefully it will make a difference and have some customer impact."
Many restaurants, including the Set in Brighton, have announced they will reopen with deposit schemes or no-show charges in a bid to combat the problem, however it is not a solution that all operators consider viable.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "No-shows are a problem for businesses at the best of times. At the minute, with the future of businesses still hanging in the balance, they could potentially be disastrous. I hope customers understand the scale of the issue here.
"No-showing for reservations when venues are still fighting for their survival is a gross act of negligence on the part of the customer. Many businesses will not want to have to resort to taking deposits and charging up front, so mutual trust is needed. If you cannot make your reservation, please let the venue know. It is not just a courtesy at this point, it could make or break a business."