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.