How Do No-Shows Impact Restaurants? OpenTable and Chef Michael Voltaggio Dish In

By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor

A post shared by OpenTable (@opentable) on

A post shared by OpenTable (@opentable) on

By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor

Not only has OpenTable changed the restaurant game forever with its online reservation services (and even placed No. 6 in Foodable's Top 100 Restaurant Technology Companies ranking to boot), but this innovative brand has now partnered with esteemed restaurateur and celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio in a campaign against late cancellations and reservation no-shows. "Book Responsibly" urges diners to pay heed when modifying their plans or second-guessing their dinner dates.

"It might seem harmless to bail on a reservation but if you can't make it, letting us know ahead of time makes a world of difference," Michael Voltaggio said in release. "If we're constantly working to address no-shows on a daily basis, our business suffers. That's why we are asking diners to book responsibly."

In many cases, consumers see restaurant reservations as a no-strings attached commitment, seeing no foul play if their now-vacated table can seat someone else — in their minds, seeing it as the restaurant not losing business. However, for every reservation made in large cities, a 2013 article noted that around 20 percent result in an empty table that restaurants must now hope to fill. With profit margins as low as 3 to 5 percent, that is a chance most businesses can't afford to bank on.

"Many people simply don't realize the impact that no-shows and late cancellations have on the restaurant industry," OpenTable Vice President of Marketing Scott Jampol said. "At OpenTable, we believe we have a responsibility to help build awareness of the issue and continue to leverage our technology and diner network in ways that reduce no-show rates and mitigate the impact of late cancellations."   

In terms of OpenTable's no-show rate in the United States, it is about 20 percent lower than that of diners who book through phone calls. The company believes it is due to the convenience the app provides when it comes to cancelling or modifying a reservation, along with numerous email and mobile reminders. And to help restaurants fill up the newly-freed tables, OpenTable reflects these availabilities immediately on its network.

Don't be afraid to cancel your reservation, Michael Davis of Sprout LA added.

"[We] appreciate a cancellation more than a no-show," he said. Read More