A bar owner in Sydney, Australia is calling attention to why it’s extra important to avoid bailing out on reservations now that restaurants are slowly starting to reopen across the world.
Aref Jaroud took to Facebook to express his frustration after a customer booked a reservation for four people at Low 302 last weekend and didn’t follow through.
“Hi Aimee. We thank you for making a booking at Low for four people,” he wrote on the venue’s page. “Right now that is 40% of our entire capacity.”
Of course, “Aimee” never showed, nor did they call and cancel, and Aref said the bar had to turn away people on their waiting list who wanted to come in for a drink and a bite to eat, causing the already struggling business to lose even more potential income.
“Maybe you have no idea the financial impact this has on a restaurant right now. Maybe you don’t care,” he continued. “You have single handedly set the worst of precedence for our entire industry at this most difficult time… Aimee, there is a special place for you to burn in hospo hell.”
Sydney has only just started to loosen restrictions on bars and restaurants.
As of recently, these types of venues are allowed to open up if they seat only ten people at a time.
It’s a lifeline for small businesses that have been struggling to stay afloat with the coronavirus-induced closures, but the limited capacity means that margins are tighter than ever, and every dollar really counts.
“We never expected that we were going to make some huge profit running like this, but we wanted to reconnect with our customers, try to give everyone who booked a nice night out after being in isolation,” Aref told Junkee. “I think that’s important at this stage, people reconnecting and enjoying some good hospitality in a safe way.”
Responses to Low 302 putting Aimee on blast were largely supportive.
“Typical of someone who is unable to see past themselves,” one person wrote on the Facebook post. “It’s upsetting that these business owners weren’t given the opportunity to rebook this table and give someone else the dining experience people are missing.”
“This happened to us on Sunday at lunch,” sympathized Matthew Thomas. “We had a booking for a table of five not show up. The worst [thing] is we had turned away 15 other people.”
A few folks suggested that Aref had no way of knowing what’s going on in the mysterious Aimee’s life, but most seemed to get that this isn’t about one person, or one reservation, it’s about helping patrons understand why being a no-show is so much more devastating to a small business now than in the past.
“I just wanted people to be aware that by not showing up you damage the venue in a lot of ways,” Aref said, “and you are also denying other people a table.”
Though his original Facebook post mentions that he was considering charging a booking fee or deposit to help ensure something like this doesn’t happen again in the future, Aref confirmed that the bar ultimately nixed that idea so people wouldn’t be discouraged from staying home if they were feeling unwell.
Navigating a mid-pandemic world is no easy task for anyone right now, but businesses are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to keeping customers and employees safe, following local regulations as they constantly shift, and still turning some sort of profit. The very least the rest of us can do is not waste their time.