A party of four has been slammed for not showing up for their booking at a Sydney restaurant which is operating at limited capacity in line with government guidelines.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants have been forced to reopen under new guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus – for The Sausage Factory in Sydney’s inner west, this means only having 12 patrons at a time.
On Saturday night, a table of four – a third of their total allowed capacity – neglected to show up for their booking, without cancelling or giving the restaurant the heads up.
“[At] 6.15pm I call a late running table of four,” owner and self-proclaimed Sausage Queen, Chrissy Flanagan wrote on Instagram.
Ms Flanagan explained she asked the party of four if they would be arriving soon and they simply said they weren’t coming.
“I said ... ‘You didn’t cancel?’ They said, ‘Were we supposed to cancel?’ I said, ‘well as our total capacity is currently 12, your booking is a third of our capacity, and we have already cooked your dinner, yuh’.”
Not only is The Sausage Factory operating at limited capacity to account for the state’s guidelines, the establishment in Dulwich Hill is offering a pre-planned menu and open on Friday and Saturday nights only.
‘A culture of casual thoughtlessness’
Ms Flanagan admitted it was “very rare” to have customers behave in such a manner, but the careless attitude is something the restaurant industry cannot sustain.
“It was very rare during ‘normal times’ and certainly still now,” she said.
“You understand things change, but I think the very minimum you can do is let people know you’re not coming, especially since a lot of places are doing set menus now because that’s the only model that works.”
She says by not showing up after making a reservation and not cancelling, restaurants miss out on booking somebody else at the table.
Ms Flanagan claimed she did have other people who wanted to make a booking, but missed out.
“I think it’s this culture of casual thoughtlessness that’s sort of permeating a little bit,” she said.
“Obviously everyone is really stressed and very, very tense and edgy.
“So it’s kind of like a matrix situation where everyone expects to be getting an understanding and tolerance without understanding and tolerating other people.”
Ms Flanagan said the restaurant industry is “brutal at the best of times” and the idle thoughtlessness can determine whether a business like The Sausage Factory is breaking even or not on any given night.
The problem goes beyond people not showing up for a booking, and Ms Flanagan explained it’s people complaining about dining time limitations and careless behaviour is seeping into other industries.
Customers dining local helps restaurants
In addition to running her own restaurant, she is also the mastermind behind ‘Chrissy’s Cuts’, artisan sausages made at The Sausage Factory and sold at supermarkets, and Sausage Queen Brewing, her own brewing company.
Having climbed her way up in male-dominated industries, Ms Flanagan is passionate about helping others and using ‘Dully Locals in 2019’ to promote local businesses in Dulwich Hill, keeping the connection between locals and local businesses alive amid the pandemic.
The Sausage Queen said the one perk of the pandemic for restaurants is people are spending money in their local area, instead of dining in the city or near where they work – some eateries have even doubled their business with people turning to takeout.
“It’s been extremely touching and encouraging how conscious people are of their ability to make a difference in a business surviving or not,” she said.
Ms Flanagan said society has never needed general consideration more than right now, especially because no one knows when the world will return to ‘normal’.
“We need a lot more calm thoughts,” she laughed.
“And responsible action.”
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