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Eating places Are Charging Hefty Charges for Late Cancellations and No-Reveals. Diners Aren’t Glad.

Eating places Are Charging Hefty Charges for Late Cancellations and No-Reveals. Diners Aren’t Glad.

Menu prices are rising at restaurants across the country. Yet you may have some sticker shock even if you opt to not dine at a particular eatery.

More and more restaurants are implementing fees for late cancellations or no-show reservations, The New York Times reported on Monday. And while the charges are meant to encourage good behavior among guests, they’re also upsetting some unsuspecting recipients.

“It was probably 23½ hours before we were supposed to be there,” Brian Azara, a mechanical engineer in New York, told the Times about canceling a reservation at a Michelin-starred restaurant because his son had been hospitalized. While he noted that he sympathized with the challenges restaurants face, the $200 fee “really kind of stung.”

According to Resy data cited by the newspaper, 17 percent of U.S. restaurants on the platform charged at least one cancellation fee as of January. That was up from 13 percent in January 2023, and a big leap from the mere 4 percent that charged customers in January 2019. In big cities, the share of restaurants that have implemented a fee is even larger: A quarter of New York restaurants on Resy had one as of January, as did one-fifth of restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami.

The fees can range from as little as $10 to more than $50, as restaurants work to figure out their sweet spot: They want customers to feel deterred from canceling their reservation late or never showing up at all. But they don’t want to turn off customers for whom a high fee may result in never going to the restaurant in the first place.

“Restaurants don’t want to punish people,” Lilly Jan, a lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, told The New York Times. “I think it comes down to customers understanding the impacts of their actions: If you care about the industry and you enjoy dining out and you want to see your local restaurant continue to do well, a little courtesy and consideration goes a long way.”

Thankfully, restaurants are seeing that a fair number of customers understand that. Many will call or email when they need to cancel a reservation at the last minute, which allows restaurants to waive the fee they may have otherwise charged. And even better—people are actually showing up, respecting the reservation they had originally booked.

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Source: Robb Report

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