Faced with customers who do not honor their reservation, this restaurateur has found THE solution

Paying a deposit that will be deducted from the final bill to fight against customer absenteeism is the idea that Sandro Di Bernardi uses in Metz (Moselle). (©Antony Speciale/Lorraine News)

Paying for a restaurant reservation? If, formulated in this way, this idea can make hairs stand on end, it has advantages both for customers and for restaurateurs according to Sandro Di Bernardi, the one who launched it in Metz (Moselle).

The owner of the establishment which includes the Mojito Bar and the Tantra restaurant has been applying this formula since March 2022. He explains to Lorraine News the operation of this method as well as the advantages that this represents.

“A premium service that costs nothing to those who want to take advantage of it”

Sandro Di Bernardi specifies initially that “it is a practice already used everywhere in the world, in particular in the cities which move a little”. He then details why he wanted to launch this concept at home.

Increasingly, we’re seeing people book in multiple places and end up crashing appointments by showing up to others. With internet reservations, it’s more and more anonymous, you can leave an email address or a wrong number. This phenomenon of “no show” is all the more annoying when you have tables of 10 people who do not come, it blocks other customers who have not reserved. For a restaurateur, it’s a loss of figure when we have expenses and employees to pay. So I took up an idea that was already being done elsewhere.

Sandro Di BernardiMojito Bar and Tantra Manager

The public had already been able to experiment with this practice when igloos were installed on the Place de Chambre last winter: all reservations were paid in advance and all that was left to do was consume.

The principle of the operation is simple: “Customers deposit a deposit at the time of their online reservation which is deducted from the final addition. It comes down to 10 euros per person for a drink and 25 euros to eat “.

In addition, Sandro Di Bernardi applies an offer: “At the time of booking, there is also 10% extra discount which are already applied. According to him, “it’s a premium service that costs nothing to those who want to take advantage of it and it doesn’t bind anyone”.

A way to guarantee reservations

For the manager of the Mojito Bar and the Tantra, “paying online is a practice that has become normal in our customs”.

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According to Sandro Di Bernardi, “Since we launched the experiment, there have been 50% of customers depositing a deposit and the other half reserve but without guarantee that the places are well assured”. Indeed, “customers who have paid an advance will have priority over people who have only made a simple reservation”.

In the event of termination, if this is done at least 48 hours in advance, the customer is fully reimbursed. Between 48 and 24 hours, it recovers half of its deposit. On D-day, it is not reimbursed. “But we are in dialogue: if there is a particular reason for a last minute cancellation, it is always possible to postpone the reservation without the customer losing anything”, adds Sandro Di Bernardi.

Is the initiative likely to extend to Metz? “Other restaurateurs contacted me, interested in the operation. I advise them to take the steps, but then it’s up to them to put everything in place,” adds Sandro Di Bernardi.

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