Chef Paul Ainsworth writes emotional post after 27 no-shows in one day

15 July 2020, 12:02 | Updated: 15 July 2020, 15:38

Another Michelin-starred chef has shared his disappointment after 27 customers in one day did not show up at his restaurant - as the hospitality business battles to keep afloat during the pandemic.

Paul Ainsworth, who runs a number of restaurants in Cornwall, wrote an emotional post on Instagram about the "real cost" of no-shows after The Mariners in Rock suffered an underwhelming night.

Just days before, fellow Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge wrote a similar post criticising dozens of people who failed to turn up after booking at his restaurant over the weekend.

Many pubs, hotels and restaurants have been unable to open even after the coronavirus lockdown easing, and all have had to make significant changes to adhere to social distancing rules.

There are fears many might not survive the pandemic, as the new rules have reduced customer numbers by up to two thirds and costs are rising.

Ainsworth said he "couldn't believe" he had still seen so many no-shows after the "awareness generated" by Kerridge's earlier post.

"After the efforts our teams have put in to making our restaurants a safe environment and the money Emma and I have spent to make it possible. Disappointed doesn't even cut it!" Ainsworth said.

"To those 27 people who thought it was ok not to show tonight and that no one would miss you. You are very wrong. We were ready for you.

"The restaurant rota had been written for you. The team were waiting to welcome and take care of you. Such a shame you thought this was an ok thing to do."

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The restaurateur said he currently employs 132 people and has not made any redundancies so far.

"These people rely on Emma and I to pay their mortgages, rents, bills and many of them are the sole income earners for their families. So the number of people you are affecting is far greater than the 132 employed," he said.

Ainsworth added: "This post is insight to the real cost of a NO SHOW."

Other high-profile chefs rushed to support him, including Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown, who said: "What is wrong with people? Don't they get it?"

Kerridge also responded to the post, writing: "Mate! @paulainsw6rth Unbelievable!!! Feeling your pain absolutely shocking...... please people, if you can't honour the reservation that YOU have made, call the restaurant/pub/hairdresser/beautician/spa/doctors/dentist.... and just let them know!!!!"

Some restaurants have taken further steps to deal with the issue.

Maray restaurant in Albert Dock, Liverpool, said no-shows have been a problem "since forever" and has now decided to take credit card details for all bookings.

"We charge £10 per head only in the event of a no-show or on-the-day cancellation, and it has helped massively," the restaurant said on Twitter.

The government has taken a number of steps to help the hospitality industry, including reducing VAT from 20% to 5% across pubs, cafes, hotels and restaurants between 15 July and 12 January.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also launched the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme which gives customers vouchers to use at participating restaurants on Mondays to Wednesdays.