Paying a deposit for restaurant bookings

What’s the DiS take on this?

Just read this and it seems reasonable, though someone pointed out the reason the table in question didn’t show up was due to the weather, which does change the situation somewhat:

So, non-refundable deposits for restaurant bookings:

  • Fine, restaurants need to secure their income
  • I don’t like this idea at all
  • LOL I only go to Nandos m9

0 voters

Yeah completely fine with this. If a customer has an emergency/medical situation then they should refund them I think but not in this kind of situation.

lol no

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Are no-shows that common (the example they use of 10/30 guests seems extreme)?

Also, 1 server per 5 guests seems a lot.

think it’s completely fine for large groups to pay some kind of deposit - a restaurant is getting completely screwed if they don’t turn up

for smaller groups the restaurant might find it does more harm than good to their income


Yeah I was surprised to receive an Email yesterday from a restaurant for a Mother’s Day booking I made asking me to front up £15 to secure the booking. First time it’s ever happened.

Deposits seem fair enough to me but I’m not a fan of them being totally non-refundable in all instances, with no time restraint on them. Obviously restaurants know best the impact it has on their bottom line but there needs to be some flexibility on both sides.

Not sure about this for anything other than big groups or fancy restaurants. Having said that there was a thread on here about a year ago where people boasted about booking several restaurants at once and only turning up to whatever they felt like at the time. Those people are the reason for this.


Oh wow I hope those people show up here.

If it’s over 10 people. That’s my hard and fast rule and I won’t be swayed

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Big groups, fine.

Me and a mate / significant other / family, no chance. Sorry. I understand their reasoning, but it’s not something I’d be prepared to do.


Not massively against it but plenty of other leisure industries allow you to just show up and pay at the time with no deposit - cinema, gigs, bars, cafes, gyms etc. So not sure that point is an especially strong one for their argument.

The only times I’ve ever been asked for a deposit have been from fancy(ish) places on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. I think that’s perfectly fine - these small, independent restaurants get booked out on those days and if you don’t show up you are denying them a cover.

Don’t back it as a matter of course and absolutely not for places who get a large volume of walk-ups, but many of those just don’t take bookings. I think if you’re a small business and you’ve had to turn people away to secure a booking then it’s fair enough.

Yeah like I say I’ve never had to do it before - I’ve taken my Mum to this place several times now! (And it is very high end for where she lives).

Their Email about it was very polite and explanatory and I was very impressed by that. As with a lot of these things, it’s all about how you communicate it (i.e. just be polite).


I might let you have cafes, but the others aren’t in any way comparable to a restaurant. In most cases, the number of attendees simply increases profit. it’s not like a restaurant where a no-show actively creates a loss.

Pre-ordering food when you book a table for a large group

  • Good
  • Bad but necessary
  • Bad and shouldn’t be a thing

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Can I ask what’s wrong with this? Only asking because I’m organising a meal at work for 26 CEOs (fun!) and the amount of grief they’re giving me for having to do this in advance is blowing my mind. What’s the beef? (No beef on this menu)

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Depends. Had a family meal out just after Christmas, probably about 16 of us, and the pub made us order in advance - but it was one of those pubs with a massive menu where everything is obviously pre-prepared and shoved in turbo oven (one level up from Spoons), there was no need to pre-order at all.

Fair enough but then what sort of places were they referring to when they said “the norm in every other branch of the leisure industry”? Not saying they don’t have a point when it comes to their own finances, but I don’t think it’s this common trend that they’re making it out to be.

Part of the fun of a restaurant is browsing the menu and seeing what appeals to you on that particular day. Maybe you order in advance then the day comes and you don’t feel having that meal at all - mildly irksome.

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couple of my buddies own reatsurants/bars and they lose out on a fucking chunk of money by folk booking and then not turning up.