Cancel early or you might cost yourself and the venue money! Photo: Jay Wennington

Don't be reserved about cancelling early!

Happy 1 December – we don’t have to feel guilty about talking about Christmas anymore and being told that it is way too early!

Party season is also in full swing with hotels and restaurants busy putting great menus together – let’s hope that group bookings are respected and no-shows are a thing of the past.

Please keep in mind that when you book a table in a restaurant, this table is reserved for you and the restaurant will turn people away for you. So if you have to cancel, please make sure that you give the venue enough notice to fill the booking again.

Recently, I saw an online discussion where someone was giving out that a deposit was taken and/or a cancellation fee was charged. The cancellation was rather short notice for a large group – the venue gave them the option (and tried themselves) to pass the booking on to a different group which is not as easy as it sounds.

I understood the reasoning behind why the restaurant chose to charge but the customer wasn’t too pleased.

We are in times where money is tight for everyone and no more than in the hospitality industry and ‘no-shows’ can break a business financially as food has been purchased in advance, staff needs to be paid and the council doesn’t care if the restaurant was full on the night – they will charge full rates. So please make sure you can keep the appointment or give the venue loads of time to adjust.

Imagine you invited a group of friends over for dinner – you went shopping for the best ingredients and good wine, started preparing the dishes in the morning throughout the day, dressed the table beautifully, just to get a phone call that the group can’t make it.

You worked hard for nothing and end up with food for a small army that you can’t use all up. How would you feel if that happens to you? Not a great feeling, is it?

Now imagine the costs of staff and rates on top of that – you can understand now how upset a chef would be for a no-show or a late cancellation. Please don’t be one of them.

I haven’t been to a Christmas outing in ages and normally don’t like large gatherings – for the last number of years, I always had a gathering in my house (apart from the dark times of lockdown) and loved the preparations and all but we won’t do it this year but will meet with friends in local venues to catch up and spread a bit of Christmas cheer around.

Let’s make our gatherings a wonderful occasion for everyone!