Restaurants are dramatically hiking up cancellation fees as the industry tries to recoup losses caused by diners not turning up at the last minute.
In an attempt to deter people from not honouring their reservations, estimated to cost the industry as much as $75million per year, some eateries are charging no-show fees as expensive as if the diner had sat down and enjoyed a meal.
One of the restaurants to introduce a hefty cancellation fee is Restaurant Labart at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.
The venue charges $125 per person for a set menu and will charge the same amount for a cancellation within 24 hours of the booking time.
Cost of living pressure leaves restaurants turning to booking and cancellation fees. It is estimated cancellations cost the industry $75 million a year. Restaurant Labart at Burleigh Heads (pictured) was one of the first to introduce a booking fee of $125 per person
Restaurant co-owner Karla Munoz Labart said customers were happy to pay and it was a way to ensure that people were committed to the booking, just as if they had bought a flight or a concert ticket.
Three months ago Shannon Kellam from French restaurant Montrachet in Brisbane brought in cancellation fees of $165 per person for their special chef’s menu.
He said it was a necessary deterrent for people who didn’t honour their booking and that the restaurant was left with no choice because of the soaring prices of items from cooking oil to green beans.
Three months ago French restaurant Montrachet in Brisbane (pictured) brought in cancellation fees of $165 per person for their special chef’s menu
‘The cancellation fee is for people who are ignorant who think that it’s fine just not to turn up for dinner,’ he told The Courier-Mail.
‘If you pre-bought tickets to the movies, do you think you’d get your money back if you didn’t show up, you wouldn’t. So why should we considering all the work that goes into the experience?’
He said the restaurant would not charge people a cancellation fee due to illness and would always talk to those who didn’t show before charging them the fee.
Japanese restaurant Sushi Room in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley charges a $50 per person booking fee, and a $330 upfront fee is taken for those who choose to book for the venue’s omakase multi-course menu.
‘With Sushi Room, it’s only a 50-seat restaurant so if we have a table of 10 no-shows that’s a loss of thousands of dollars for us,’ said Sushi Room co-owner Kelvin Andrews.
‘We’ve already bought produce for it and everything is fresh on the day so we are buying already for that customers and then it’s food wasted.’
He said a major problem he is facing is people booking at all three of his eateries and then deciding on the night where to go, leaving him at a loss.
The restaurant buys the produce fresh for the day so if the customers do not show, the food is wasted.
Japanese restaurant Sushi Room (pictured) in Fortitude Valley charges a $50 per person booking fee