Management at Dine, in Edinburgh’s culture quarter, say they will be introduced credit card charges for bookings from now on after losing 80 bookings in the space of a week.They say the restaurant is suffering “unsustainable” losses over food and staffing costs at a time it is trying to build the business after reopening from the latest country-wide lockdown restrictions last month.
Around £3000 worth of business was said to have been lost at Dine on Friday night alone by the restaurant after it was unable to fill 60 cer cent of its tables – despite being fully booked.
The brasserie and cocktail bar was opened nearly six years ago by Paul Brennan and Stuart Muir in a site above the Traverse Theatre on Cambridge Street.
The restaurant is also an official hospitality partner of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Lyceum Theatre.
Dine is the latest hospitality business in the city to go public on the impact of late cancellations and no-shows, at a time when demand for tables has soared due to limited capacities due to social distancing rules and curtailed opening hours.
Brennan has taken to social media to protest at the restaurant’s treatment.
In a post on Saturday night on the restaurant’s Twitter account, he said: “Why do people think late cancellations and not showing is acceptable?
“Today we had 24, yesterday 29, 17 on Monday.
“The additional food costs and wages is unsustainable when we are trying to rebuild a business and save jobs. Credit cards on tables of 4+ from Monday.”
Brennan, who reported a further nine cancellations on Sunday, later added: “One table cancelled 30-mins before the sitting because someone had fallen ‘ill’ with Covid.
“Their Facebook account showed them smashed and dancing in Rose Street.
“We called one customer who didn’t show and they had booked two restaurants, so they not have a conscience.
“We could have sold these seats many times over, instead 60 per cent of a sitting on Friday was empty.
“I just don’t know how someone can consciously make a decision to financially impact on a business. Four staff sent home early on Friday after being at home for 14-months doing nothing...it beggars belief.
“This issue impacts heavily on the team when they lose hours because people haven’t turned up. Our team are fantastic and deserve more.”
Other restaurants in the city have sent messages of support to Dine in response to their booking woes.
A response from 21212, which is run by Paul Kitching and Katie O’Brien, said: “We are all feeling that pain I think. We don't want to take deposits and card details. We just want people to do the right thing. Why can't they? I just don't understand. Who are these people that think nothing of it?”
Other hospitality businesses to have hit out over similar problems in recent weeks include Aizle, in the west end, Roseleaf, in Leith, and The Bow Bar, in the Old Town.