People are being urged to support Southport businesses by making sure they turn up for bookings
Southport Business Improvement District is today backing a campaign asking customers to be more considerate to firms in the town as they look to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Many restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, beauty salons, pubs, barbers and others have finally reopened after spending nearly four months in lockdown. But they are doing so with social distancing and other safety measures in place.
This means greatly reduced capacity for many – with the result that someone who books a table, a beauty treatment or a room but then fails to keep their appointment could have a substantial impact on takings for a local business at a time when they are desperately trying to rebuild and to survive.
The ‘no show’ issue was highlighted a few days ago when celebrity chef Tom Kerridge angrily criticised a “selfish” group of 27 customers who made a booking at his London restaurant but then didn’t turn up. Tom criticised the “disgraceful” no-showers for putting jobs at risk during the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when many businesses like his are having to adapt to changes.
In a post on Instagram, Tom said “We put staff levels to the number of covers booked and when you fail to turn up, it now costs us, which in turn will force very uncomfortable and hard decisions about staffing levels.”
Business owners in Southport joined calls by Southport BID for people to make sure they let local venues know well in advance if they are not able to make a booking they have made.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “The majority of restaurants and other businesses in Southport are independently owned and operated, and these owners are fighting hard to keep their business afloat. We all have a role to play in the future of the town, and we all as a community must work together to support local businesses.
It is easy to think that not arriving for a booked table is harmless, but the implications for the business right now are huge. It is just one small way that we can all work together to help Southport recover”
Attilio Sergi runs Trattoria 51 on The Promenade in Southport, as well as two Trattoria 51 restaurants in Liverpool city centre.
He said: “It is a real problem, especially when our restaurants are running at 50% capacity.
“We have a booking system which helps us a lot. It will monitor our no shows. We have the option to take a deposit of £5 per head and £10 during Christmas, done through our booking system, and secured through stripe deposit payment. The client will only be charged the deposit if they do not cancel within 48 hours of booking it.
“Since we have reopened after lockdown we have not taken any deposits, because we had to communicate lots of new Covid policy to customers and the deposit is another layer that we didn’t want to put onto people. Fortunately, we have only had two tables ‘no show’ so far in the past two weeks, although this is still two more than we would have liked.
“I feel that anyone booking a table and not showing is a terrible thing when restaurants and other businesses need so much support.”