20 Jul Coronavirus: Tom Kerridge says no-shows may mean meals have to be paid for like theatre tickets | Business News
A top chef who has blamed “selfish” no-show diners for jeopardising the restaurant trade has told Sky News that in future meals may have to be paid for in advance like theatre or airline tickets.
Tom Kerridge reiterated the problems faced by the beleaguered sector – still battling to recover after the lockdown – when people who make reservations fail to attend.
He told Sky’s Ian King Live that it could mean more restaurants move to a model where credit card details or full payment is taken in advance.
Restaurants are being squeezed because social distancing means they have fewer tables to offer. At the same time, when people do not turn up there is less passing footfall to fill those vacant seats.
Mr Kerridge, a Michelin-starred chef also known for his TV appearances and cookbooks, went public last week with his frustration about the behaviour of no-show customers at at a time when the industry is on the “verge of collapse”.
On Monday, he told Sky News that the situation had been “better” since he sounded the alarm, and that he was simply calling for people to show “common courtesy”.
But Mr Kerridge also pointed out that restaurants were increasingly asking for credit card details when taking bookings or even full payment in advance.
He said: “I do think we are moving towards a marketplace where there will be a lot more in the way of credit card details being taken – very similar to if you book tickets for the theatre or cinema or an airline…
“There isn’t an issue if you just let us know… If you are not going to be able to make it you give us plenty of notice – we can resell it, it’s not a problem.”
He said the no-show issue was hitting the industry at a time “when we are only just coming out of hibernation”.
Last week, Azzurri, the owner of the Ask Italian and Zizzi chains, said it was to close 75 sites putting 1200 jobs at risk.