A BROADWAY restaurateur says businesses are still being hit in the pocket by no-shows a year on from Tom Kerridge’s much-publicised rant over the issue.

Ahmet Ozalp, chef and owner at The Broadbean, Broadway, took to Facebook after he got left with 10 empty seats out of 26 on Saturday night.

Mr Kerridge took to social media himself 12 months ago to slam “the worst kind of guest”, describing them as “selfish” as eateries gradually reopened after the impact of Covid-19.

But Mr Ozalp believes the phenomenon is not related to the pandemic, more that people are hedging their bets while having to choose between booked-up places.

“We don’t want to be too negative, we understand a lot of people are getting pinged by the NHS app but it would be good to let people know,” he said.

“Cancellations are not really a problem, it is more the no-shows. People are booking tables in more than one place and then make up their minds on the night without letting the other restaurants know.

“This happened last year with Tom Kerridge and I think it is just the same thing. I don’t think it is to do with Covid because one of them booked for a late table on that afternoon and just didn’t show up.

“Being a small restaurant, 10 people not coming makes a huge difference to us. It is frustrating and it does not just affect us, we had to let one of the staff go home early and then they miss out on pay, 40 per cent of your food goes unsold, it affects the whole chain of the business.”

Mr Ozalp had plenty of support on Facebook with patrons encouraging him to insist on deposits, something he is reluctant to do.

“After my post, quite a few pubs and restaurants got in touch to say it happens to them quite often,” he added.

“It is not everyone but we are thinking about whether to take a deposit on tables of six or more.

“It is easier to fill tables of two but when it is bigger groups, it is more difficult to reorganise during a busy service.”

Has your business been hit by customers not showing up?

Customers, would you pay a deposit for a reservation? 

Let us know - email andy.mitchell@newsquest.co.uk