The Good News About Reservation Cancellations & No Shows

Restaurant operators everywhere unite over a shared disdain for reservation cancellations and no shows. Time and money are wasted holding a table for a group that may or may not show. This may not seem like a big deal until you consider that over one quarter of reservations are bailed on or cancelled on any given night. Charging a cancellation fee or ticketing reservations have become the new trends to combat non-committal diners. So what’s the good news? Venga looked at trends among frequent cancellers and no shows to help to better predict and solicit cancellations to minimize their impact.

  • Reservations made more than one week in advance are more likely to cancel.
  • First time diners are much more likely to cancel or no show.
  • Parties with an even number of people are more likely to cancel than similar sized odd number parties (parties of 4 are more likely to cancel that parties of 3 or 5, etc)
  • Parties of less than 6 are more likely to no show, parties of 2 are the most likely to no show.
  • Large parties that may be a ‘best guess’ of the number of people are more likely to cancel than similarly sized parties, for example 10 is more likely to cancel than 9 or 11, 15 more like than 14 or 16. This overrides the odd number rule.
  • Over 20% of guests who have cancelled in the past* are likely to same-day cancel their next visit.

What can we learn from all of this?

  • Make sure to call to confirm especially if the reservation was made over one week ago.
  • Don’t hold tables longer than 15 minutes for two-tops, “best guess” large parties, or even cover reservations. This also applies if the guest has cancelled in the past*.
  • Convert your first timers into regulars. Once again, the data shows how amazing regulars are to your business. Not only do they dine more often and bring in more revenue, but they won’t stand you up.

*Venga can help tag frequent cancelling guests within your database so you know not to hold their table. This can drastically increase table turn.