NYC Restaurants Ramp Up on Cancellation Fees

It seems we’ve all got commitment issues these days, and it’s difficult not to blame convenience as the culprit. Technology allows us to anonymously hide behind a text message, phone call… or a restaurant reservation. 

As Pete Wells points out in a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, about four percent of reservations are either last-minute cancellations or no-shows. And this lack of accountability is becoming a serious problem for operators, causing some New York restaurants to implement cancellation fees. To practice this, they must take down a future diner’s credit card information at the point of reservation. Such cancellation fees are becoming more commonplace in the New York dining scene to prevent unused tables. 

By instilling a slight sense of fear that there’s a price to pay for (in most cases) unfair behavior, how will this affect consumer perception of their guest experience? These charges will most likely drive loyalty down if a reservation is missed. It seems, for restaurant operators, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

But here’s something: According to Wells’ research, there are a fair share of restaurants that claim to have a cancellation fee, but don’t actually follow through with it — at least, not in the traditional sense. Read the full New York Times article here.