'It's just like stealing' - restaurant gets 22 no-shows in one night

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse in at Brancaster. Picture: White Horse Inn

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse in at Brancaster. Picture: White Horse Inn - Credit: Archant

A popular North Norfolk restaurant has slammed diners for failing to honour reservations after 22 no-shows in one night.

On Monday, The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe had a table of two, a table of nine and a table of 11 all fail to show up for reservations, leaving the restaurant out of pocket, frustrated and with a half-empty terrace.

The sun deck at the back of the White Horse Inn at Brancaster. Picture: The White Horse

The sun deck at the back of the White Horse Inn at Brancaster. Picture: The White Horse - Credit: Archant

Following the no-shows the restaurant used social media to express its frustration and to hammer home the importance of calling to cancel reservations.

Rob Williamson, general manager, said a table of 11 could cost the restaurant anything from £500-£1000.

He said: "It's a massive disrespect. You're always going to get people not showing up, in any given year it's a drop in the ocean but it impacts our costs.

"For the next eight weeks, nobody is going abroad, people just want to dine out so this is the time to really make it pay and claw back some of the losses."

A seafood platter

Seafood platter to share at The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Mr Williamson likened failing to turn up to a reservation to stealing, saying when people made a booking they "entered into an agreement that they were coming to spend money".

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"If someone turned up and took money out of your till, it's theft, so it's like that. We could sell those tables 10 times over," he said.

Mr Williamson said the White Horse team had considered introducing asking large tables to pay deposits when making reservations but felt that this was "not very Norfolk".

"It's a London, city centre thing. Up in Norfolk we don't pay deposits to go out for dinner but the more and more this type of thing happens we would consider it.

"But you still get the chancers. At what point do you take the deposit because there's always going to be the excuses?"

Mr Williamson said he was aware that others in the hospitality industry were also dealing with no-shows.

He said the White Horse's size insulated it against a couple of no-shows but for smaller independents, it was "make or break".


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