People who don't show up for their reservations make restaurateurs miserable, especially the ones who run the sort of restaurants in which guests only seem to want to dine at 7 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night. I've never seen lost revenue estimates, but I'm sure they are staggering.
In his blog, Andrew Zimmern excerpted bits from a piece about no-shows from Nation's Restaurant News discussing ways in which some owners are tackling the problem, by insisting that diners call to confirm reservations within 24 hours or taking credit card numbers and charging no-show fees from $25 per person up to $175.
I hadn't noticed any local restaurateurs resort to this, except on prime dining holidays. But Zimmern posted an email from Lenny Russo at Heartland who says he's enacting a policy to track offenders and charge a $50/person no-show fee.
Zimmern, for his part, plans to take a public-shaming approach:
I want all the restaurants to send me their names, and I will publish them on every website that will have them, like the pictures of the Johns picked up in sex stings. We'll teach them a lesson through shaming and embarrassment that they will never forget.
Do you think this will work? Does that seem fair? Will reservationists be asked to save tables for diners named I.P. Freely and Seymore Butts?