Lenny Russo is a pal of mine, a good man and a great chef. He has established a first offender program for no-shows. No-shows are lethal to a business, especially one like Heartland’s, which relies on reservations to gauge purchases and staff its lean operation. During busy periods, it turns people away so it can honor reservations. Lenny is being nice about this. If it were me, I would cut someone's ear off for no-showing. That’s my kid's college plan you are messing with, pal! Are people still such scumbags these days that they would no-show at a fine-dining establishments?
I want all the restaurants to send me their names, and I will publish them on every website that will have them, like the pictures of the johns picked up in sex stings. We’ll teach them a lesson through shaming and embarrassment that they will never forget.
Paul Frumpkin just did a piece on it in the NRN:
“As the economic storm continues to rip into business at fine-dining restaurants across the country, some operators are attempting to shore up sales by taking on the pervasive problem of no-shows.
Frustrated by consumers who make reservations and then do not honor them, several restaurateurs have installed controversial no-show fees that can run anywhere from $25 per person up to $175.
No-shows are “a massive problem,” said Drew Nieporent, whose New York-based Myriad Restaurant Group owns and operates such popular restaurants as Corton, Nobu and Tribeca Grill. “It happens every day. The cost to us is incalculable.”
Daniel Patterson, chef-owner of the nine-table Coi in San Francisco, said no-shows long have posed a problem for upscale restaurateur.
“But we used to absorb this behavior more easily,” he said. “Now it has become exacerbated by the economy and the rise in costs.”
Nor, Patterson said, are operators just talking about the difference between making a large profit and a slim profit.
“It can be the difference between staying in business and not staying in business,” he said, estimating that no-shows accounted for as much as 20 percent of his business before he implemented a $100 per-person no-show fee.
The vast majority of operators attempt to deal with the problem by insisting that patrons confirm their reservations by phone within 24 hours. But even that fails to solve the problem, they say. As a result, a handful are taking a more hardline approach by warning scofflaw patrons that their credit cards will be charged with a fee if they fail to honor their dining commitment.
Reservationists at Thomas Keller’s critically acclaimed Per Se in New York inform potential patrons that they will be charged a penalty of $175 per person if they fail to cancel three days prior to the date of their seating.
The website for the tiny but extremely popular Momofuku Ko on New York’s lower East Side tells customers they must agree to the following terms: “I understand that although I may cancel my reservation any time, if I cancel less than 24 hours in advance of my seating time or do not attend my reservation, I will be charged $150 per person.”
Gordon Ramsay’s New York restaurant Maze, formerly The London Bar, cautions guests that a fee of $120 per person will be charged for a cancellation within 48 hours or for a no show.
“Month to date at Heartland, we have had six parties no-show us, four of which were on either a Friday or Saturday night at prime time. Our policy is to track no-shows and then require them to secure future reservations with a credit card. If they then fail to cancel prior to the evening of their reservations, we charge a $50 per person no-show fee to their cards. On Valentine's Day and NYE, we secure all reservations with credit cards and charge a $75 per-person fee if they fail to cancel forty-eight hours prior to their reservations. For those who miss the deadline, we waive those fees if we are able to rebook the table.” Local restaurateurs are getting killed by the economy and now by renegade customers. Small high-end, chef-owned eateries are hit hardest and can't charge revenge fees all the time because the market won't bear it. It's sad. So next time your best pal no-shows somewhere, send me his name, and I will shame him for you. And any restaurant with a problem customer, send me his name, and we shall deal with this for you.
“ Garage Sale Time. Savings of up to 80% off are offered on many culinary products including: clearance merchandise, samples, seconds, closeouts and discontinued items from manufacturers, store fixtures, used school cookware and whatever else they have cleaned out of their garage. All household merchandise not sold will be donated to Bridging after the sale. Because this is a garage sale, there are rules: no holds, no fights and no returns. Awesome. Food fight!
When: June 12, 9am - 4pm
June 13, 9am - 4pm
June 14, 12pm - 5pm
Where: Cooks of Crocus Hill?, 877 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-228-1333"
“I have a group that I've started on facebook of local chef/foodies. Just a place to chat, explore, and meet local people who care about food, where it comes from, how to care for it, and just where to get it. I would like to be able to get a couple of "local" chefs that are in the spot light to add to the group and expand some knowledge. Please check it out. Trust me I know your a very busy man. I'm sure you get this crazy stuff all the time. I work as a chef in Minneapolis and just want to get people involved. Thank you and have a great day.”