Public shaming is not a solution for restaurant reservation no-shows

restaurant ticketing software

Possibly inspired by a popular dog shaming web site, a restaurant has started publicly disparaging no-show diners on social media. While humorous to some, it is most definitely not the solution for restaurant reservation no-shows. The solution is selling pre-paid tickets in advance.

Shame on whom?

Red Medicine, a restaurant in Beverly Hills California, was the center of some controversy last week after it started publicly shaming those who made reservations but failed to show-up. Referred to as "no-shows" by the restaurant industry, these would-be diners are being called out by first and last name (and sometimes telephone area code) on Twitter. So-called no-shows have been the bane of existence for restaurant owners since the first telephone reservation was accepted. However this new trend is not in anyone's best interest.

Kat Odell, writer on the ever popular foodie website, describes of the incident:

Red Medicine, the Jordan Kahn cheffed restaurant operated by Noah Ellis on Wilshire Boulevard, sent out a series of tweets chastising no-show diners. Ellis says no-shows really hurt business and that he has tried a variety of ways to combat the problem. He admits that out of frustration he blew up the no-shows on Saturday night.

Here two of the rather customer unfriendly tweets made by Ellis:

Fellow restaurant owners may impulsively feel that Mr. Ellis was justified in his actions as cancelled reservations do impact the bottom line. To his credit, Ellis says that he has considered alternatives to shaming as a solution for restaurant reservation no-shows, including the possibility of selling tickets in advance.

We tried taking a credit card on every reservation, but it hurt our business; there's a contingent of people who just won't put down a card, regardless of if they plan on coming or not. The ticketing systems are interesting, but we do most of our business a la carte, and I'm also not sure that we have the consistent demand to justify it. We could do walk-in only, but then if you're celebrating a special occasion having a meeting, or trying to have a nice night out, it sucks to not know when you'll be able to get a table. There's no winning.

As seen in an earlier post, Next restaurant in Chicago has had a major success with selling tickets in advance. In fact Next has seen so much value in selling tickets for individual dining events, it has expanded the practice to offer pro sports-style season tickets.

Next is not the only restaurant selling ticket in advance to solve the issue of no-shows. In Austin Texas, Qui will soon open and be making use of a hybrid model of both telephone reservations and tickets.

We’ll have it on a ticketing system similar to what you see at Alinea in Chicago. But I’m going to start out slow. We’ll open the main dining room for 50 people first and once we feel ready, we’ll open it up for lunch. Then we’ll work on opening up the tasting room, but only when we’re ready. And we’ll probably only do one seating a night. And just take it from there.

Paul Qui's solution may be just what is needed at Red Medicine.

Selling tickets in advance is the solution for restaurant reservation no-shows

Prompt to sell tickets for any kind of eventLong before taking to Twitter to publicly shame those who don't show up at your restaurant, consider selling tickets in advance. It is much easier than you think.

ThunderTix can help you start selling tickets online in as little as one business day with no long-term contract commitments. We also make nightly deposits of your sales dollars directly into your bank account, giving you the liquidity to buy only what you need for the menu - no waste. Best of all we do not charge you per-ticket fees!