Restaurants are so fed up with diners breaking reservations that they've begun using Twitter to name names.
Red Medicine, a trendy watering hole in Los Angeles, sent out a handful of tweets over the weekend publicly naming the customers who failed to show up for their booked tables, according to the food blog Eater.
Noah Ellis, manager of Red Medicine, told Eater that no-shows cost the restaurant money, though he didn't specify how much. He said his anger reached a boiling point over the weekend, when he sent messages from Red Medicine's official Twitter account using customers' full names and expressing general frustration.
All the nice guests who wonder why restaurants overbook and they sometimes have to wait for their res should thank people like those below.
— Red Medicine (@redmedicinela) March 24, 2013
A telephone call to the restaurant went unanswered on Tuesday afternoon. Ellis explained to Eater that the tweets were an attempt to combat double-booking by customers. "Either restaurants are forced to overbook and make the guests (that actually showed up) wait, or they do what we do, turn away guests for some prime-time slots because they're booked, and then have empty tables," he said.
According to research from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the no-show rate for dinner reservations can be as high as 20 percent in major cities. Other restaurants are turning to punitive measures to fight customers who fail to keep their word. As The Huffington Post reported last year, some restaurants charge fees if customers don't cancel within 24 hours of a reservation, similar to many hotel policies.
Earlier this month, Michelin-starred chef Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit, a well-known restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, also flamed customers who did not show up for Mother's Day there on his Twitter account.
"To the 30 people who confirmed and no-showed today – well done. I'd say your mother is proud," he wrote, according to Irish newspaper The Evening Herald. The chef said no-shows cost the restaurant the equivalent of nearly $2,500 in lost revenue each week.
Dunne later explained his motive, again via Twitter, writing:
Just to clarify my objective in the "No Show tweets" is to create awareness not to name and shame.Hopefully peeps will call cancel in future
— Oliver Dunne (@OliverDunne) March 10, 2013