Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham chef Alex Claridge blasts no-show customers

Alex Claridge Image copyright Thomas Bartley
Image caption Alex Claridge says "no-show" customers are seriously affecting his businesses

A "seriously fed-up" chef has blasted customers who "take the mick" by not showing up to dinner reservations.

Alex Claridge, who runs The Wilderness in Birmingham, said he spoke out on Twitter after 16 "no-shows" in one night.

"Last week, the cost of no-shows was about £2,000. People say 'don't be angry', but £8,000 a month is serious money," he said.

The chef said some customers had apologised after reading his tweets.

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"I appreciated that," he said. "I know why things happen - life gets in the way.

"We are a business, but we are people too, so let's chat and make this work."

The chef tweeted his disgust after being left with empty tables at Monday night's "no rules" event, which allows diners to pay what they choose.

"People just take the mick. Hospitality is a two-way street," he tweeted.

Image copyright Rebecca Woods
Image caption Mr Claridge said some of the customers who failed to turn up on Monday got in touch after seeing his tweets

Mr Claridge, who runs his restaurants with sous chef Oliver France, said the culture of people not bothering to turn up - and failing to cancel tables - was seriously affecting his business.

"My restaurant has 24 covers, so if a table of two doesn't turn up, that's 10% of our takings. If it's a table of four, that's 20%.

"If people don't turn up to Pizza Express, then it's probably going to be OK. But when you're a small business, with 24 covers, with a small and passionate team working hard then it's going to hit more.

"When something like this happens, it puts me off doing it. I just want to cook some nice food and make people happy.

"We do it because we want to make a fine dining experience accessible to everyone - it's inclusive, not exclusive," he said.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Mr Claridge said he would "name and shame" customers who booked and failed to show up

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