Charlie Hodson of Hodson and Co Cheese Room With Deli in Aylsham on ‘no shows’
As we all begin to dust off our evening wear and arrange meals out with friends, the air is filled with excited chatter: ‘Oh, we just can’t wait to revisit the places we just love!’ or : ‘We must try that new place, everyone is talking about it!’ and then, that certain something that fills everyone in hospitality with sheer dread. ‘Should we book a couple of places, and see what we fancy doing on the night – nobody will notice or mind!’
Well, I can assure you that any ‘no show’ is noticed and does matter! The hospitality industry has been brought to its knees during the pandemic and is trying so hard to fight back. There is also a chronic shortage of staff which is adding to their woes and those people who book multi tables and don’t even bother to let restaurants know when they are not coming do so much damage.
Restaurants depend on diners honouring their bookings, and clearly if you have reserved a table, it prevents that table going to someone else – who might well turn up!
Just imagine if you had cooked a gorgeous dinner party for friends; laid the table, bought the wine, tidied the house and – they didn’t turn up. You call to find out why and they tell you that they’d simply gone to another friend’s for supper, instead!
I had mixed feelings as we launched our Table for Two, a private dining experience held right here in the deli for just two people once a week. One the one hand, it filled me with joy to be back at the stove once again. I felt alive, sharing my love of food which has always been at the heart of everything I do. Yet it also worries me that diners who have indeed prebooked, won’t turn up. There is so little we can do to prevent it. It matters so very much to us – not just the financial aspect. We love meeting our diners, greeting them at the door, explaining the menu and its provenance, talking through the wines – all that and more.
So I hope you do visit the restaurants you love, I hope you see faces within the team you remember and new faces replacing those that have sadly left the world of hospitality, because we all certainly love seeing you!