Last Updated on 2022-09-26 , 9:25 pm
Restaurateurs said that due to the increasing trend of “no shows” from diners after booking reservations, more and more restaurants are implementing reservation fees or deposits to avoid losses.
Some would even ask for a deposit as high as $200, though that is dependent on the situation.
In order to prevent no shows from customers, the neighbourhood bistro Grub, which opened two branches in Novotel at Stevens and Junction 8 (Bishan), have begun collecting reservation deposits.
This arrangement started at the end of last year.
The deposit for a group of five customers is $50 per table.
The busier Bishan branch collects reservation fees every day, while the Steven branch only collects said fees on the weekends.
Marketing manager Hong Wanying (transliterated) told Shin Min Daily News that the bistro would call the diners one day in advance to confirm the reservation again, but there would always be no shows from customers.
Typically, most restaurants that take reservations will have a reminder system, either through automated messages or the staff making personal calls to confirm.
“Some customers will reserve tables at many restaurants in a bid for choices, but they don’t call to cancel the reservation after they have made their decision. This is very irresponsible. We will usually leave the table empty 30 minutes beforehand, and then wait for 15 minutes at most. When walk-in customers notice the empty tables while they are waiting outside, they will ask our staff why they aren’t seated yet.”
This is just a matter of possible revenue that couldn’t be earned because of another customer’s thoughtlessness, honestly.
Lisa Wong, Queen of Cantonese Songs and owner of a Fish Head Hotpot Restaurant, stated that they don’t collect reservation fees from customers who are only booking one or two tables.
But if they don’t show up within the 15-minute timeframe, they will offer the table to other customers.
If it is three tables or more, or if the customer specially requests a dish that isn’t on the menu, like crab for instance, the restaurant will ask the customer to pay a reservation deposit.
The reservation deposit is determined by the number of diners and the requested dish. If the dishes are from the menu, it will be between $100 to $200; if the customer orders two crabs, the deposit will be $150.
She explained, “Ingredients are becoming more and more expensive now. If the customers don’t show up after we prepared the ingredients, we will be incurring losses.”
The Hong-Kong based restaurant brand known for its signature roast dishes, Kam’s Roast, started charging a $10 reservation fee through its reservation platform this year.
The boss, Cai Heping, stated that the ingredients are becoming pricer and the F&B business is becoming less profitable as time goes by. For the sake of reducing waste and losses, he decided to impose a reservation fee.
From what he can observe, all of the customers have accepted this arrangement, and this is fair to all of their diners, including the wal-in customers.
On The Customer’s End
However, there are some restaurants who have chosen not to implement a reservation fee.
For Peace Japanese Cuisine, its owner Qi’an said that they only ask Omakase customers to pay a reservation fee.
“Quite a few customers don’t feel like making reservations anymore after hearing that there will be a reservation fee. Hence, we usually don’t collect reservation fees, but it has been clearly stated in the reservation regulations that if they fail to show up within three hours or are a no show, they will need to pay a 20% cancellation fee.”
The Japanese Restaurant also sends a reminder to the customers a day in advance.
Presently, the customers can accept this arrangement and think it is reasonable. Even the customers who need to cancel their reservations are willing to pay the cancellation fee.
Is It Effective?
According to Hong Wanying, the frequency of customers not showing up for their reservations have reduced by 80% ever since the reservation fee was implemented.
More and more customers will cancel their reservations in advance if they are not planning to show up.
When Grub is accepting a reservation, it will request the customer to key in their credit card information. If the customer cancels the reservation within 24 hours, or simply fail to turn up, the bistro will deduct the deposit.
If the customer shows up on time, the deposit will be automatically returned to the customer the next day.
When the Restaurant Association of Singapore was interviewed, it stated that most reservation platforms will record the customer’s credit card information to complete the reservation, but it will temporarily deduct the reservation fee first instead of charging it directly.
In doing so, the deduction may show up as “pending” on some customers’ credit card transactions.
The deposit will not be deducted if the customer arrives on time for their reservation.
However, some restaurants may charge the deposit first, in which case the deposit will be deducted from the final bill.
In truth, the reservation deposit is very similar to the deposits you would make when you book into a hotel room; there is no reason to charge you for additional fees, unless you destroy the room or consume the pricey alcohol in the mini fridge.
Therefore, show up to your reservations punctually.
If you’re out on a date, your significant other will definitely appreciate it.
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