British chefs and restaurateurs criticised the ‘ghost customers’ who caused the industry to lose £16m a year after Tom Kerridge called the 27 people who didn’t come to book “selfish.”

“Most people don’t realise that even a table for two makes a big difference to an establishment,” says Benares’s general manager Harsh Joshi. “No-shows are one of the biggest nightmares for the industry, and nowadays it is even worse as the covers are already reduced in order to keep the safety measures in place.” Jason Atherton, the international restaurateur, said: “I’m going from 74 covers to 32 covers in Social Eating House, where every single honoured booking is the difference between us surviving and not. We respect plans change, but give us the grace to cancel your reservation so we can effectively plan and fill that table, and hope you join us on another occasion.”

Likewise, David Moore, the chef of Pied á Terre, said: “Customers forget that the restaurant will pay the cost if they don’t show. At Pied a Terre, for example, we are a 40 cover restaurant. If one table of four doesn’t show, our profit is gone.” Likewise, Charlie Mellor of Hackney’s Laughing Heart said: “If you buy a ticket to the theatre and decide not to attend, you still have to pay the price of admission. Restaurants are cultural institutions and should be respected as such.”

Other industry professionals made harsher comments, according to Standard UK, and “I personally view it as if they are taking food off my daughter’s plate at home when customers fail to show up,” says Hicce’s Gordy McIntyre. Pip Lacey, who worked with McIntyre, said: “It’s not rocket science understanding the effects it has. All restaurants moving forward should take card details for all bookings and charge an average spend for no shows. No excuses. Grow up or pay up! Hopefully, then people will be more respectful.”



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