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Inverness restaurants discuss blacklisting booking no-shows


By Calum MacLeod

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Norman MacDonald (centre) is worried about the impact of people booking tables at restaurants and then not showing up.
Norman MacDonald (centre) is worried about the impact of people booking tables at restaurants and then not showing up.

Customers who fail to honour their bookings with local restaurants could find themselves blacklisted for not showing up.

The issue of restaurant no-shows has attracted national attention since the hospitality sector was allowed to reopen following lockdown.

And there are worries the problem may only get worse as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme launches this week, encouraging diners to use local cafés and restaurants from Monday to Wednesday throughout August in return for 50 per cent off their bill.

Norman MacDonald, owner of Café One in Castle Street, Inverness, said: “When you are reduced to 65 covers and two people don’t show up, it does have a big impact. It also means other people don’t get the opportunity to use the tables.”

Bruce MacGregor, of MacGregor’s Bar in Academy Street, pleaded with customers directly.

“For most people, getting through this year will be on a knife edge, so if you can’t make it, at least let us know,” he said.

“We have been lucky because we get walk-ins, but you have lost the table for at least half-an-hour.”

If the problem of no-shows persists, Inverness could have to follow restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow in asking for non-refundable deposits, he suggested.

The names of repeat offenders could also be shared with other businesses.

“If you have the names of no-shows, we could let other businesses know to look out for them,” Mr MacGregor said.

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