It’s been no secret that the hospitality industry has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
With social distancing rules, limits on how many people can be seated together, staff having to isolate, and not to mention the constant closures throughout the course of three lockdowns, it’s safe to say that hospitality has needed support more than ever.
One thing that’s become a norm amidst the pandemic is people booking tables at bars or restaurants rather than simply turning up. This has allowed the rule of six to easily be applied, and for venues to plan ahead in uncertain times.
Bookings seemed understandable given the unprecedented times, yet in certain cases it caused more dilemmas for hospitality venues than good.
With people desperate to ensure they have a table booked due to limited capacity, it has resulted in many venues being faced with no-shows. One restaurant which has faced the difficulty of this recently is Olive and Grape Bistro, in Mossley Hill.
The independent restaurant says it had 32 bookings in for last Saturday, and only two turned up. The team told their Instagram followers: “Hospitality is on its knees. And no restaurant can afford to have a night like this. Staff can’t afford to lose hours at work and we can’t afford to have them in, not to work.”
Followers quickly jumped to the restaurant’s defence, with many calling the no shows, “outrageous” and “inconsiderate”.
Kristen, general manager at Olive and Grape Bistro, told the ECHO : “It’s a real struggle at the minute in hospitality. People are cancelling left, right and centre, which is fine if they have made other plans, but to just not show up is difficult for us.
“We and our staff are out of pocket, we can’t keep our staff in when there’s no work. Everyone is struggling at the minute though, not just us. Many people have messaged us to say they’re finding it hard too, and people are cancelling or not showing up. It seems like people are just booking multiple places.”
Many venues have resorted to taking deposits alongside bookings to stop incidents like these happening, and Kristen says it’s something they’re now going to have to consider, following last weekend.
She said: “At the moment we don’t have a deposit system, we didn’t want to do that as we have many loyal customers. I know myself, when somewhere asks for your card details when booking, I don’t always do it. We’re trying to avoid it as we’re not in the city centre, and don’t want to put people off booking with us.”
As restrictions ease, the restaurant is concerned that being outside of the city centre may place it at a disadvantage, but it is trialling new ideas. Kristen explained that the restaurant has started trying out new events on Tuesdays and Sundays, with different menus and dining experiences in an attempt to appeal to more potential customers.
She added: “We’ve started putting ‘Tasting Tuesdays’ on, as well as ‘Small Plate Sundays’, to try out new stuff and hopefully get more people in.”
Olive and Grape Bistro is located on Rose Lane, Mossley Hill. Find out more at www.oliveandgrape.co.uk .
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