OpenTable today launched its Show-Up for Restaurants initiative, which highlights the impact of no-shows and late cancellations on restaurants’ margins. The initiative will take the form of forthcoming new digital tools as well as “blog and social content educating diners on the impact of ghosting a reservation.”
In most places in the U.S., dining at restaurants is back in full swing. Yelp, for example, recorded its highest totals ever this past May for consumers using the app to dine out. Across the country, foot traffic is up by nearly 50 percent since the start of the year.
While most of that is good news for restaurants, the re-emergence of dining rooms also means the return of the no-show — when customers book a reservation then simply skip out on it without calling the restaurant to cancel. OpenTable’s own recent survey data found that 28 percent of of Americans haven’t shown up for a reservation in the last year. The company says that in certain cases, as few as six no-shows can affect profits at a small restaurant.
To help restaurants better control the situation, OpenTable will launch a tool this summer that will let restaurants label a customer as a potential no-show based on that person’s past reservation history. The restaurant can then “be proactive” about confirming the reservation with that diner via other tools the company offers, including emails, alerts, and credit card-required reservations. A “four strikes and you’re out” policy suspends diners that don’t show up for a reservation four times.
OpenTable says it will also use various forms of content to further educate diners on the negative impacts of no-shows. Presumably that also means highlighting the company’s own digital tools that make it fairly painless for the user to modify or cancel a reservation within the app.