CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With capacity restrictions on restaurants aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, it makes it difficult for restaurants to turn a profit. When people sign up for reservations and then don’t show up, it can turn a bad situation into a nightmare for restaurants.
“If someone makes a reservation at one of our restaurants we see that as a contract," Co-owner of Oakhart Social and Little Star Ben Clure said. "Essentially, you’re agreeing to come and have dinner with us and spend money on our food and our drinks. We’re agreeing to hold that table for you and have it ready, you know as close to possible, to the time requested.”
Clore says when there’s a no-show on a reservation, it can ruin an entire night.
“We need to be operating at 80-90% capacity just to have any sort of profit, so when we’ve been reduced to 50% dining capacity, every dollar that comes through our doors is absolutely essential to keeping them open," he said. "When somebody doesn’t show up for a reservation, it’s even worse. It takes a bad situation and makes it catastrophic.”
Michael Keaveny, owner of Tavola, says he’s seen this problem play out many times before.
“What makes it worse is that we’re turning down people that would love those seats, but they’re booked and then when people don’t show up, [and] don’t call, I call them they don’t return the phone call, it’s very frustrating,” Keaveny said.
He understands people may not think about this from a business standpoint, but it’s important to keep in mind when making a reservation.
“I don’t think people are trying to be, you know, hurtful to a business, but I just think it’s not in the thought process and it kind of needs to be, you know, now more than ever," Keaveny said. “We’re trying to just survive.”