There has been a considerable amount of discussion this week in the traditional and ‘new’ media about the delicate question of Restaurant Cancellations and how to manage them. One of the many examples that surfaced rather loudly was the recent case of a table of 6 unable honour a reservation at the highest placed restaurant in Melbourne.
The rule of booking at this restaurant is, that they have a clearly stipulated cancellation policy that meant in this case, if the table of six could not be filled after cancellation, there was a strict cancellation fee of $900.
I believe the person that booked could not come due to an illness that happened the day before the proposed visit. He cancelled the night before the arranged lunch booking.
He thought that he was entitled to some leniency due to the sudden nature of the illness. The owner stuck to his guns and explained that he had taken advice from the ACCC when forming the policy and that the cancellation policy was declared strictly kosher and always clearly explained to everybody that booked.
There was a cold impasse and I think both parties came out rather worse after the confrontation.
But both sides had to my eyes equally valid points of view.
The diner did not plan to be sick and the restaurateur had strict clearly stipulated rules of engagement.
No shows, last minute and unannounced table number changes, and of course dreaded cancellations have troubled diners and patrons for ever.
I am working on a very simple solution that preserves the goodwill of both the unfortunate canceller and also preserves the rights of the restaurateur in any reasonable situation.
Off to the Zetter
Graphic by Les Mason