Cafes and restaurants in the French capital have opted to follow the lead of hotels and guest-houses, and start charging their customers with cash penalties for late cancellation of reservations or failing to appear in time.
Hundreds of Paris eateries are currently adopting the system that is widely used in the hotel industry, the Times reports. Restaurants oblige clientele to leave details of their credit cards while making reservations, with big-name places warning customers over a potential charge in case of a no-show.
The measure is reportedly connected to losses the restaurants have to suffer, when people make several reservations for the same day and then cancel at least one of them without warning.
“Even in great restaurants customers cancel without having the slightest idea of the economic impact of their action,” the managing director of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, an association of top restaurants Nicolas Chatenier told the media.
Restaurants reportedly have to follow the trend due to French gastronomical habits, in particular fondness for lengthy meals. French cafes cannot allow two bookings for the same table, like restaurants in Britain and the US, as they cannot be sure that the first group will leave before the second one appears.
The financial losses due to no-shows are really significant, accounting for up to 30 percent of the restaurants entire revenue, according to Xavier Zeitoun, founder of a restaurant booking site Zenchef, as cited by the media. The businessman noted that 245 restaurants have adopted the new system so far.
Chatenier said that annual losses of an average Michelin-starred restaurant may total up to €150,000, stressing that one canceled table may wipe out the profits it could make in the evening.
To tackle the problem the Tour d’Argent restaurant has reportedly imposed a cancellation fee of €100 per head at lunchtime and €200 for the dinner service, while the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant obliges clients who book a table and cancel less than ten days before the meal, to pay €86 per head.