The hospitality industry is among one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures.
After months of limited trading, with strict takeaway only measures in most states, restaurants and cafes are slowly starting to reopen with limited capacity and social distancing measures.
We can go out for brunch with friends again, or grab dinner and a drink.
But things aren’t back to ‘normal’, especially not for those who own and work in hospitality establishments.
On Saturday night, Sydney restaurant Low 302 had a booking for four people under the name Aimee.
Under current restrictions, restaurants and cafes are allowed to seat up to 10 people at a time, so that booking represented 40 per cent of Low 302’s entire capacity.
Aimee, and her other three guests, did not show up.
“You didn’t have the common courtesy to call us up and cancel,” the restaurant wrote in a strongly-worded Facebook post outlining why this was so damaging to its business.
“We had people on a waiting list who would have been happy to take your reservation.
“Maybe you have no idea the financial impact this has on a restaurant right now. Maybe you don’t care.
“You have single-handedly set the worst of precedence for our entire industry at this most difficult time. Furthermore you have put us in the position of having to now ask other bookings to pay a deposit when booking. Something we really wanted to avoid having to do.”
Speaking to Mamamia, a spokesperson for Low 302 said they had been “very humbled and overwhelmed” by the positive messages of support they received following the post.
With social distancing set to be around for the foreseeable future even as Australia continues to succeed against the virus, we – the Australian public – are the ones who can make or break businesses right now.
So the thing is, we as customers need to agree not to be an Aimee.
Basically, we need to try our best to ensure we’re not screwing anyone over. This means:
- Dining out if doing so is in our means
- Understanding the importance of making, keeping and turning up on time for bookings
- If we need to cancel a booking, we do so with enough time for the establishment to refill the table
- Respecting and following social distancing measures put in place by businesses
- Accepting businesses may need to implement measures to protect themselves, such as a deposit with a booking or a minimum spend
- Being understanding; this new normal is an adjustment for all of us, and a bit of patience and kindness can make all the difference
“Largely, our customers have been fantastic,” Low 302’s spokesperson told Mamamia, offering further suggestions on how to support hospitality businesses and workers.
“Being on time for the booking and checking for minimum spends (or at least being aware of your spend!) are both ways our regulars and customers have kept the ball rolling here.
“We also believe that our staff and customers health comes first so there may be procedural changes that reflect that; being aware of the waiter’s movement at your table, strange sprays and wipes getting used constantly are all new issues that the industry is adjusting to.
“You can be assured your local restaurant is trying their very best to keep everyone healthy and turn a small profit at the same time so patience, understanding and consideration is what everyone needs right now.