The topic of restaurant booking deposits has been a hot one in London for quite some time now, and I think it is about to become an issue here too. Frankly, since lockdown was lifted, the bars and restaurants that have managed to reopen are all in “survival mode” and, if they are lucky, are just breaking even. So when I saw my friend Javi report on Twitter that he has had groups of 6 and 10 as no-shows this past week and that he has decided to ask for a deposit upon booking, I completely agreed with him.

I have always thought this was a totally reasonable request, with a 24-hour cancellation policy, otherwise you forfeit your deposit. Even at the best of times restaurants seriously suffer from no-shows, especially when more than one happens during a service, or if they are larger groups. It seems there have always been assholes who will book 3-4 restaurants and then decide last minute which one they want to go to and then don’t have the decency to make a quick call to cancel their extra bookings. Clearly these are not the best of times and so a deposit would help put a stop to this.

I honestly don’t understand the resistance to this policy. As I said to Javi, if these people don’t want to pay a deposit then they are not your people. Because a no-show is even worse than a last-minute cancellation as the table is held… and held… and other possible walk-in clients are turned away until it’s too late.

I should think that with all our favourite bars and restaurants struggling to reopen and get back on their feet we would all be happy to put our money where our mouths are and make sure they are covered in case of… I don’t know. Possibly forgetting we had a booking? Because I don’t personally know anyone who would just not show up. But as I say, it’s a problem because people can often be thoughtless and selfish, as we have been shown many times during this pandemic.

What do you think? Would you be fine about leaving a deposit on your credit card for a bar or restaurant booking?