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Gloucestershire Business News

Owners warn 'no show' diners hurt Gloucestershire restaurants

Gloucestershire pubs and restaurants are facing an increase in no-show customers who have made online bookings but don't turn up.

Customers may even be turned away at the door, only for restaurant owners to find that tables are left empty. Some have already introduced deposits.

It's part of a national trend as the hospitality industry adapts to the ongoing Covid restrictions like social distancing imposed by the Government.

Paul Soden, who runs five pubs in Gloucester, said: "Talking to other food operators, I know that some are now taking deposits, although it's not something we have experienced."

Steve Gardner-Collins, director of Visit Gloucester and sales director of the Hatton Collection, said: "The message is simple: if you book a table, show up or we will have to introduce deposits locally.

"We have been talking a lot about the domestic staycation market where people may be coming to an area, pre-booking tables, and not turning up. I'm not aware of it here yet but it will come."

The regular Turf meeting of more than forty Cheltenham hospitality businesses has discussed the issue of deposits to tackle the problem of no-shows.

Lindsey Holland, owner of Cleeve Hill Hotel, said: "It's something that we first noticed last year, and we moved it forward then."

Many in the hospitality sector are making more sophisticated use of software to send email and text reminders to diners and guests.

Lindsey added: "I wouldn't be surprised if deposits become a regular thing for now at least."

The industry has a huge amount of ground to make up, with debts accruing during the lockdowns and a situation exacerbated by staff shortages. No-shows add pressure on businesses already having to work hard to make ends meet.

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