As Australian bars and restaurants reopen under strict social distancing restrictions, one Sydney restaurant has published an open letter expressing their disappointment after a party of four didn’t turn up for their reservation.
NSW restaurants are limited to 10 diners at once, and the owner of Surry Hills cocktail bar and restaurant Low 302 was irate the group did not have the courtesy to let staff know they would not be dining.
Owner Aref Jaroud took to Facebook on Saturday to address Aimee, a woman who had reserved a table for four but didn’t turn up.
The post began thanking “Aimee” for making a booking and failing to turn up without a cancellation, meaning the venue lost a significant amount of business that evening.
“Right now that is 40% of our entire capacity,” Mr Jaroud explained.
“The thing is Aimee, you didn’t show up for your booking. You didn’t have the common courtesy to call us up and cancel”.
Given the weeks of lockdown Australia has experienced, diners were desperate to enjoy a night out at the venue and Mr Jaroud said Aimee’s reservation was one that was in high demand.
“We had people on a waiting list who would have been happy to take your reservation,” he explained, adding with the seating restrictions losing almost half of their capacity for the evening was a large financial loss.
“Maybe you have no idea the financial impact this has on a restaurant right now. Maybe you don’t care.” he wrote.
Mr Jaroud explained that because of the no show his restaurant would consider asking patrons to leave a deposit when booking “something we really wanted to avoid having to do”.
“You have single-handedly set the worst of precedents for our entire industry at this most difficult time”.
The frustrated owner ended the letter telling Aimee “there is a special place for you to burn in hospo hell.”
The post was quickly flooded with support for the restaurant and its staff, with most people agreeing with the owner.
“Plenty of people want to eat out and you happen to get that booking Aimee... Not happy, somebody could have had your spot!” one person responded.
“Aimee these people are finding it extremely tough and you choose to make it even tougher, absolutely disgusting behaviour. All you had to do was pick up the phone and cancel your booking,” another person commented.
Several other people working in hospitality shared similar stories of bookings not turning up and how hard the lockdown had been on their venues.
“I know how you feel this happened to us on Sunday at lunch we had a booking for a table of five not show up. The worst thing is we had turned away 15 other people,” a person wrote.
“From someone who worked full-time for a leading Melbourne restaurant that went from 1500 covers on a Friday and Saturday to 0, to then eventually shut because they didn’t have cash flow to last until Jobkeeper payments kicked in, this is incredibly infuriating,” another user wrote.
Mr Jaroud told Yahoo News Australia that he doesn’t regret the Facebook post and sees it “as a reminder to people that restaurants really are doing it hard”.
After some thought though, he has decided not to take deposits for future bookings and has taken the health of diners into consideration.
“I certainly do not want to pressure people in attending their booking if they should be staying at home,” he said but hoped that people will call and cancel if they can’t make their reservation.
“This won’t be for ever, so we all need to be patient,” Mr Jaroud said.
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