Dipping on dinner reservations

Posted at 7:18 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 19:19:02-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s been one full year of ups and downs for Western New York restaurants. From COVID-19 shutdowns, to restrictions, restaurant owners say they’re doing anything they can to keep the doors open, and the oven hot.

“Now more than ever, these tables are so important to us,” said Jay McCarthy, owner of The Place in the Elmwood Village.

Local restaurant owners say because of capacity regulations, reservations are encouraged and sometimes required depending on where you choose to go. But many say they’re finding customers, making a reservation and then never showing up.

“If people didn’t show up, it really screws up our entire night,” McCarthy says.

“Some people are making multiple reservations places and seeing if they can get in and then they don’t call to cancel,” said Carolyn Rooney, the General Manager of Aroma on Bryant.

We asked how often this has been happening.

“I think that most restaurants are experiencing this everyday they are open,” she said. “Folks-not showing up.”

Rooney recently took to the restaurant’s Facebook page to voice this concern she says after multiple tables were no shows this past weekend.

“If every day you have one or two reservations who don’t appear, it seems like a small problem but those three tables are enough to welcome more to the restaurants.”

Owners say this is incredibly frustration when they’re operating under such restrictions.

“We just want to know that you’re not going to come,” McCarthy says.

The Place says the problem got so bad over the winter that, with limited and strictly outdoor seating, it needed to implement a $50 hold fee. McCarthy says it worked well.

“It made people accountable,” he said. “They would call us back to let us know they weren’t able to make it, and that’s what’s most important.”