No-Show’s database names and shames bad customers – and it’s fed by restaurants themselves, which can log and rate people who consistently flake on bookings or treat staff poorly.
Though hospitality has reopened in Melbourne after being closed for months, the government’s density limits mean that spots are limited. Bookings have become essential for both punters and venues, which are operating on tighter margins than ever.
That’s why it came as a shock to Melburnians when iconic venue Cherry Bar recently reported 13 no-shows on a night where a total of 20 people were booked.
To help reduce this behaviour at a time when every booking counts, restaurateur Mark Diels – a former chef who now owns Zafferano’s in Perth – has launched No-Show, a platform where business owners can log and rate customers who consistently flake on bookings or treat staff poorly.
“Being a restaurant owner myself, I know how much effort they put into every reservation, and how heartbreaking it is when someone doesn’t show up,” Diels said in a media release. “I also know how little time they have, so I wanted this to be an easy, cost-effective solution to protect themselves, their staff and their other customers from a problem that is only getting worse.”
Diels also noted that taking a deposit is not always a solution because customers prefer to book a restaurant that doesn’t ask for money up front.
Venue owners pay an annual fee of $99 to access No Show. When a booking comes in, staff can check the customer’s phone number to see an overall star rating, as well as individual ratings for interaction with staff, punctuality, the accuracy of their booking size and whether they’re “high maintenance” or “easy to please”. Restaurants can contribute their own ratings.
There’s also a sliding scale that shows if a customer has failed to show up for a booking between zero and five times, the date, nature and size of previous no-show bookings. It’s up to the restaurant to decide whether to accept or reject a regular flaker.
The platform is designed to flag diners who are consistent no-shows, not those who have to skip a booking last-minute because of an emergency. And each no-show offender’s phone number expires after two years, meaning a few transgressions don’t lead to a lifetime of poor treatment at restaurants.
Photography: Pete Dillon