The #SaveMySeat campaign has been launched by Foursquare Group in a bid to normalise the idea of paying a deposit when booking a table at an independent restaurant. The campaign is hoping to inspire the public to pay a deposit when making a reservation at a restaurant or pub in an attempt to combat what it says are the 20% of restaurant bookings that aren’t fulfilled every year.
Foursquare says no shows costs the hospitality industry around £16bn each year, which it says is disastrous for many venues in normal circumstances, but with the additional pressures of Covid is a much more pressing issue.
The campaign comes as a recent survey by guest experience management company HGEM found that almost two thirds of customers were happy to pay a deposit when booking a table at a restaurant.
“As we enter yet another phase of the new normal, we’re on a mission to normalise deposits,” says Louise Kissack, Foursquare non executive director of hospitality.
"We’re launching our #SaveMySeat campaign to help customers understand that when your local independent restaurant asks you for a small deposit on booking it’s simply their way of safeguarding their business and protecting their future.
“After all, we want our favourite places to be around for us to enjoy for many years to come.”
No shows have long been a problem for the hospitality sector but have been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic and the reduction in covers restaurants can have as a result of distancing regulations. Last year Manchester restaurants supported the #Nomorenoshows campaign appealing to customers to honour their reservations or cancel them in advance if plans change. Launched by hospitality recruitment consultancy Sixty Eight People with Antonia Lallement from restaurant group Gusto Italian, the campaign spread awareness of the damage of no shows among consumers.
Despite this, the industry is still impacted by the problem. Taking to Twitter yesterday (13 April) Matt Snell, chief executive of 12-strong Italian restaurant group Gusto, said that 15% of covers had failed to show up for their bookings on the first day of reopening despite the company sending confirmation emails, making a personal call in the morning to check if the customer was still going to make the reservation, and sending confirmation text messages four hours before the booking time.