A google search for ‘No Shows in Restaurants’ turned up 97,300,000 matches. Goes to show that this issue is pretty much universal. Why do people across the globe book a restaurant and then not show up, don’t phone, don’t text, don’t email, don’t snapchat, intsagram, facebook, whatsapp or bother at all to let the restaurant know? Why do people do this?

Across the world, restaurants create little oases of tranquillity, peace, shelter from a frantic and quite scary world. We depend on them to be there so that we can rest a while so why do so many of us feel that it is ok to let them down so completely in this way?

Would it be ok to do this if invited to someone’s house for dinner? Saturday night at Tom and Mary’s, arrive at 7.30ish to eat at 8?

Mary and Tom prepare for your arrival. Blitz the house from top to bottom, farm out/sedate the kids, fluff up cushions, scrub the loos to a shine, dust and hoover, wash and polish. Plan and prepare the meal, get out the best china, rinse the good glasses in Fairy Liquid, pull out the set of wedding cutlery for a bit of fresh air. Off to the shops to stock up on the food for that menu, the booze for before, during and after; grab a few bunches of fresh flowers for the hall, the loo and the table. Up very early on Saturday, chopping, dicing, slicing, baking, frying, steaming.  Stacks of plates, bowls, dishes at the ready. Tasting, licking, testing, smelling… aah, the satisfaction of it all. Nearly there, almost break an ankle rushing to and from the shower but there we are, Tom and Mary scrubbed up and dusted down ready to greet their guests. And you don’t turn up in any way shape or form??? End. Of. Friendship.

Restaurant owners are heartbroken over this issue and it would seem that no amount of hectoring of customers is working. But you see, every single restaurant owner is a Mary or Tom who has gone to all that trouble and so much more to make it perfect for you and me. Add to that that every single man and woman who owns a restaurant has taken really, really serious risks to create that space, that haven for us. Every one of them has cried over our no shows. Every single no show creates a black, cancerous hole in the bank balance, in the joy of doing it, in the team who depend on that owner to pay their wages so that they in turn can be a customer.

It’s a bit of a circle, you see. So, over time the number of no shows that tears the heart out of a Valentine’s, Mother’s, Father’s Day, eats into the core of the business and along with all those other myriad elements which make it a super challenging business to be in, bring it to its knees. And then the Mary or Tom who own it, lose the will they once had to be a haven, lose the heart they once had to create a place of beauty and magic, lose the ability to pay those wages which pays for Mary and Tom’s employees way of life and so the circle closes.

So be careful, the next time you are planning to eat at Mary and Tom’s place and don’t show, the consequences are far reaching indeed.