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How to Reduce & Avoid Restaurant No-Shows

How to reduce restaurant no-shows

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Are you tired of losing money and customers because of no-shows? No-shows are one of the biggest challenges for restaurant owners. So, do you want to know how to prevent and reduce them in your restaurant?

They can cause a lot of problems for your restaurant, such as revenue loss, food waste, staff issues, and customer dissatisfaction.

But don’t worry, there are ways to deal with them. In this article, we will show you 7 proven ways to reduce and avoid no-shows in your restaurant.

What is a No-Show at a Restaurant?

Restaurant no-shows are when customers who have booked a table don’t show up or cancel without notice. This is more than just a nuisance, it’s a big problem for restaurant owners.

No-shows affect the restaurant’s finances and operations in many ways. They cause revenue loss from empty tables and imbalance between reservations and walk-ins.

They also lead to food waste, higher labor costs, and lower customer satisfaction due to long waits. No-shows also create staffing issues, as restaurants have to adjust their workforce to the uncertain demand.

Having too many or too few staff can hurt the service quality, and affect both the customers and the staff.

Restaurant no-shows are not a minor issue, they are a serious threat to the restaurant’s success. That’s why restaurants need to find effective ways to prevent and reduce no-shows.

How Much Do No-Shows Cost the Restaurant Business

Restaurant NoShow Statistics
It's quite a problem, as you can see!

No-shows are a huge problem for the restaurant industry worldwide. They cause a lot of financial losses and operational challenges for restaurants.

In the UK, for example, no-shows cost the restaurant industry almost $23 billion per year, as one in seven bookings don’t show up and the worst culprits are millennials and Gen Z.

 The way customers book also affects the no-show rates.

In our experience, customers who book through search engines are more likely to show up, as they have a genuine interest in the restaurant.

Customers who book through ads are more likely to no-show, according to our data.

7 Proven Ways to Reduce & Avoid Restaurant No-Shows

Charge a Deposit for Some Tables

Deposits for Restaurant No-Show
Charging a deposit might decrease the number of bookings but they'll be more likely to show up!

One way to reduce no-shows is to charge a deposit when diners make a reservation. However, this can also have a negative effect, as some customers may be discouraged from booking a table if they have to pay upfront.

Therefore, charging a deposit is a double-edged sword that requires careful consideration. A common practice is to charge a deposit only for larger groups, such as more than four people, who take up more space and resources.

Another option is to use a tiered deposit system, where the deposit amount increases with the number of people.

For example, you could charge $15 per person for a non-refundable deposit. This way, you can incentivize customers to show up or cancel in advance, while also minimizing the risk of losing potential customers.

You can deduct refunds from the final bill or return them to the original payment methods. State your refund policy clearly in your terms and conditions to prevent confusion.

A reliable online booking system can handle everything for you. Our system (Click2Book) offers a variety of trusted payment options, such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Stripe, Paypal, PayNow, and more!

Automated Text or Email Reminders

Restaurant Reservation Reminder
Our system allows you to send automated reminders!

Sometimes, customers may simply forget their reservations or have a change of plans.

That’s why sending automated text or email reminders is essential to reduce no-shows and increase attendance.

You can set up your booking system to send reminders at different intervals, such as 24 hours, 6 hours, and 1 hour before the reservation time.

You can also include a link to reschedule or cancel the reservation in case of an emergency.

This way, you can make it easy for your customers to manage their bookings and show them that you care about their experience.

Not to mention, Click2Book allows you to send automated text or email reminders with just a few clicks. You can customize the content and frequency of your reminders to suit your needs and preferences.

Get People to Order & Pay Beforehand

Another way to avoid no-shows is to get customers to order and pay in advance when they book a table.

This can benefit both you and your customers. You can reduce or eliminate no-shows and plan your inventory and staff more efficiently.

Your customers can enjoy a special discount or a free dessert for ordering and paying ahead.

This can also improve their dining experience, as they don’t have to wait for their food or the bill.

However, this strategy may not work for everyone, so you should give your customers the option to choose whether they want to order and pay beforehand or not.

You’ll run the risk of receiving fewer bookings, but the number of quality bookings will increase as a bigger percentage of tables will show up.

Click2Book makes it easy for you to implement this strategy. It allows your customers to share the booking link with their friends and family, so they can all order on their own devices.

No more hassle or confusion. If you want to learn more about our system and its features, click the button below!

Prioritize Loyalty Member-Based Table Reservation System

Tiered Member System for Restaurant
Prioritizing loyal customers means more reliability!

Another great way to prevent them is to give priority to your loyalty program members when they make reservations.

Loyalty program members are more likely to show up and honor their bookings, as they value your brand and service.

You can also use the data you have on your members to predict their preferences and orders, and tailor your menu and offers accordingly.

Another strategy is to use a tiered system, where your members have different ranks (silver, gold, platinum) based on their frequency and spending.

Higher-ranked members can enjoy more benefits, such as booking priority and upgrades. This can motivate your members to dine more often and stay loyal to your restaurant.

Implement a Blacklist & Variable Cancellations

You can also deter no-shows by implementing a blacklist and variable cancellation policies.

This means that customers who repeatedly fail to show up or cancel late will have to pay a deposit or order and pay in advance to make a reservation.

You can do this manually or use a CRM system to automatically identify and blacklist repeat offenders.

You can also use a strike system, where customers get a warning for the first no-show or late cancellation and a penalty for the second or third.

This way, you can be fair to your customers and avoid losing potential business. We help you implement this strategy easily.

It allows your employees to mark the tables that don’t show up or are late. It also tracks and displays the data and trends of no-shows and late cancellations in a graph.

It can also automatically blacklist the customers’ phone numbers and emails, and require them to pay a deposit or order and pay in advance to book a table.

To take it a step further, you can also implement a variable cancellation policy to supplement your blacklist.

It’s essentially a tiered system like the one we’ve talked about earlier but it gets worse for repeat offenders.

The first tier is a warning, the second tier is more information before booking, and the third tier is a deposit or prepayment. You can customize the penalties and tiers in our booking system!

Use Your Loyalty App to its Full Advantage

You can prevent them by using your loyalty app to its full potential. If you already have an app, one of the ways to do that is to implement a dynamic points system in your loyalty app.

This system rewards your customers with points based on how often they show up for their reservations and penalizes them with points deductions if they don’t.

You can use the data from your loyalty app to send even more personalized reminders and incentives to your customers before their reservations, such as a free drink or a discount – on top of text and emails that we talked about earlier.

You can also make your loyalty app more fun and engaging by adding gamification elements, such as challenges and badges.

For example, you can challenge your customers to show up for a certain number of reservations in a row and reward them with extra points or a badge if they do.

You can also use AI to predict which customers are more likely to no-show, and send them more frequent or stronger reminders or incentives!

At KlikNRoll, we can help you create a loyalty app that has all these features and more. You can customize your loyalty app to suit your needs and preferences, whatever they may be.

If you are interested, please click the button below to contact us – no strings attached!

AI-Powered Predictive Analysis

Another sure-fire way to reduce restaurant no-shows are to use AI-powered predictive analysis to forecast the likelihood of no-shows based on the data collected from your customer touchpoints.

You can collect data from both online and offline sources. Online data can include how long customers spend on your app and website, and how often they set the date but don’t complete the booking.

Offline data can include how customers interact with your restaurant, such as how long they stay, how many people they bring, and how many vouchers they use.

You can use facial recognition features to identify your members and track their behavior.

We uses AI to analyze all this data and predict the chances of no-shows for each customer.

You can use this information to prioritize your reservations and tables, and offer incentives or penalties accordingly.

You can also identify the customers who are loyal and reliable, and reward them with more benefits and recognition.

Our AI can help you sort and rank your customers based on their redemption, engagement, and booking history.

This way, you can reduce no-shows and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.


To sum up, restaurant no-shows need a customized solution.

You can reduce practically and effective reduce no-shows and improve your service and customer happiness by using the methods we’ve talked about earlier!

These methods can also help you save money and make your restaurant business stronger.

If you’re interested in our reservation system, feel free to take a look at our product page and contact us for a free appointment – no strings attached!

Last Updated by February 22, 2024
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