Diners don't appreciate the value of hospitality, restaurateur claims
Few diners understand the value of hospitality, which is why tipping and no-shows will continue to be misunderstood, according to Elite Bistros of the World operations manager Gareth Jones.
In a lengthy, the founder of the group which includes Sticky Walnut in Hoole, Burnt Truffle in Heswall on the Wirral and Wreckfish in Liverpool, Jones asserted that "a cultural shift is required for progress to be made".
He said that the vague nature of tipping and the destination of the service charge in restaurants means that diners did not appreciate the value of this exchange in keeping businesses operating.
He added: "The truth of the matter is that nobody really understands the real value of hospitality. Hence why many are unwilling to pay for it."
Jones pointed out that the increase in no-shows across hospitality made it plain that diners didn't value restaurant businesses.
In comments that have received praise from across the industry, he said: "When last minute cancellation fees are imposed, it brings out the worst of human nature. From creative sob stories to abuse and threats, it seems the general public will do anything to avoid a £10 charge.
"Why then are people more understanding when they purchase a ticket for a flight or an event such as the theatre or a football match? Would they expect their money back if they couldn't make it or didn't turn up? Why is it not the same?"
Jones added that this devaluation of a restaurant's offer in the eyes of the public extended to staff, who are also often treated with a lack of respect, and that this behaviour impacted recruitment in the sector.
"All of this comes down to the perception of the hospitality industry in the cultural mindset of society," he said. "Restaurants are seen to be subservient businesses where the customer is king."
The tweet generated much discussion, with food critic Jay Rayner describing it as a "well written assessment of the financial issues facing UK restaurants".
Restaurateurs were equally enthusiastic. Sat Bains tweeted "love this and well put", while Paul Foster said "spot on, well written" and Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey suggested the group might start a trend by charging for no-shows.
He said: "This is brilliant and I agree with all of it except - taking credit card details and charging for no shows IS as simple as it seems. You've been brave enough to open in places nobody else would. Why not lead on this? For your busy nights at least. Guests will understand."
Chef Mark Greenaway introduces deposit scheme to combat no-shows >>
No-shows leave restaurants up to a third empty on Mother's Day >>
House rules: Does the industry need tips regulation? >>
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