No one can deny just how devastating the Coronavirus Pandemic has been to our hospitality industry. In fact the latest estimates suggest we are likely to see more than half a million job losses.

Kate Nicholls is the chief executive of UK Hospitality, she told parliament that recent restrictions meant she needed to revise up a forecast of 560,000 permanent job losses.

“We anticipate that number will be far higher now as a result of the local restrictions, the national constraints on events, working from home, the curfew etc.”

As devastating a prospect as that is, there is a disease which is slowly crippling the hospitality trade here in Wales, and we are all guilty of spreading it.

The simple facts are………

  • Customers not turning up for reservations costs the industry in Wales over £500m a year.
  • Around a quarter of online bookings do not turn up.

It’s one thing when an unpopular restaurant isn’t attracting customers, but it’s something altogether different when a popular establishment is fully booked and yet is empty. These NO SHOWS are having a negative impact on our hospitality trade, and unless something changes, they could be just as devastating as the pandemic itself.

It’s not only that a party doesn’t turn up for their booking. Possible reservations may have been refused, food is bought, prepared and wasted, and staff wages still have to be honoured.

As the sector slowly tries to get back on its feet following Covid-19, hospitality bosses are warning that no-shows are estimated to cost Welsh businesses £540m a year.  

Top Welsh restaurateurs and hospitality bosses recently threw their weight behind the Welsh #nomorenoshows campaign to stop the hundreds of millions in lost revenue.

We feel it’s a reminder to us all that if we book a table we need to turn up, or have the decency to cancel in advance.

The industry is now facing the prospect of having to cut 30,000 jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, and with most bars and restaurants operating at reduced capacity to honour social distancing, just a small number of no shows could put many out of business.

Meryl Cubley, a Cardiff-based media promoter and journalist, who grew up on the west Wales coast, has joined forces with Find My Dine and the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) to launch the Welsh arm of the national #nomorenoshows campaign and raise awareness of the issue among consumers – and hopefully spark a change in behaviour across Wales.

Meryl, owner of MC Comms, said:

“Wales’s food and drink sector has really exploded onto the scene in recent years; with its many independent bars, restaurants, pop ups and food festivals – giving us great days and nights out to remember.

We have access to some of the best ingredients in the world and businesses committed to showcasing them. It’s also massively important for our tourism industry, with visitors to Wales spending 40% of their money here on eating out.  It would be a real shame to lose all that.

I think some people haven’t perhaps thought it through – what happens when you don’t turn up for a restaurant booking – especially now with all the extra preparations they are making to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Restaurants and other hospitality-based venues have huge outgoings. Many are opening because they have a set number of bookings that day and so they know they can pay those outgoings. If you don’t turn up they can’t pay their outgoings – and they will close down.”

“When I saw the #nomorenoshows in Manchester and London, I had to get involved and bring the campaign over to Wales and get it promoted here. I wanted to raise awareness throughout the nation, for those in the hospitality sector, as well as consumers. I would urge everyone to help in any way they can – let’s keep Welsh businesses open!”

Jonathan Swain and Helen Wilson of Find My Dine were keen to support Meryl in promoting the campaign:

‘’You can’t work with restaurant staff and business owners as we do, and fail to be affected by what this industry is having to cope with in 2020. This reopening is hospitality’s chink of light that they can yet save their livelihoods against huge odds. Each booking is a glimmer of hope, a step toward a more secure future. For people to just not turn up is not just demoralising: it is crippling. Plans change: so give the restaurant a chance to fill your table by just letting them know. They’ll understand. They’ll still be happy to see you next time. But please – do tell them. You wouldn’t stand a friend up at the pub without getting in touch – and their wages don’t depend on you turning up. It’s the right thing to do as the industry rebuilds itself.”

The three #nomorenoshows campaign organisers also joined forces with Bristol Food Union who have secured a significant number of billboards across Wales, Bristol and the South West in support of the campaign, from print and outdoor media agency Out of Hand.

Manchester hospitality recruitment angel, Abi Dunn, of Sixty Eight People, who was the creator of the Manchester #nomorenoshows, is also backing the Welsh version of the campaign.

Hospitality leaders, operators and employees from all around Wales will be posting the #nomorenoshows tile on twitter, calling on their own network of customers, contacts, family & friends to do their bit by sharing the image and following three simple steps:

  • Plans change. That’s cool. Just let us know.
  • Rebook – we still love you.
  • Encourage friends and family to do the same.

If you’d like to show your support simply DM Meryl on Twitter – @merylcubley

To find out more about FIND MY DINE, just go here FIND

SOUTH WALES LIFE believes that not rocking up, when we’ve effectively made a promise to the restaurant owner is above selfish. It affect livelihoods and the future of the establishments we so clearly love.

The reaction we had to our “Eat Out” pages shows there is a huge appetite for eating out – no pun intended. These ‘no shows’ are likely to be the death of our favourite restaurants. Just as the establishment has a responsibility to treat us with respect and serve us well, surely we have that same responsibility too?

I for one absolutely love eating out. The whole process of getting ready, arriving with friends or family, eating, having fun and then not having to clear up or wash the dishes, is absolute heaven. Let’s not lose what we value so highly.

As the campaign says – if you can’t keep your reservation, just call the restaurant. A 30 second phone call could make all the difference.


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