Restaurant Tweets Names Of No-Shows


Did you hear about this one? The owner of LA-area restaurant Red Medicine called out several no-show diners over the weekend via Twitter. After having tried several different methods to cut down on skipped reservations at his Wilshire Boulevard eatery in the past—including taking credit card info, using a ticketing system and even converting to a walk-in only seating process—Jordan Kahn apparently though public humiliation might be his best bet.

You see, unlike many upscale and trendy joints, Red Medicine—which describes itself as “not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant”—doesn’t overbook to make sure it always has a full house. It stopped that process a year ago to make sure its customers weren’t pissed off when they had to wait after making reservations. But that means when people don’t show up, it loses money on empty tables. It also means customers who call for reservations are turned down for tables—especially during peak hours—that end up sitting empty.

Invariably, the assholes who decide to no-show, or cancel 20 minutes before their reservation (because one of their friends made a reservation somewhere else) ruin restaurants (as a whole) for the people who make a reservation and do their best to honor it,” Ellis told Eater.

Either restaurants are forced to overbook and make the guests (that actually showed up) wait, or they do what we do, turn away guests for some prime-time slots because they’re booked, and then have empty tables.

Ellis tried taking credit cards, but found that some people refuse to part with that information – even when they are certain they will show up. The ticketing system just doesn’t work out for Red Medicine because it does most of its business a la carte. And in a walk-in only environment, customers celebrating a special occasion or planning a meeting may not want to risk a long wait.

Of course Red Medicine deals with no-shows all the time. But Saturday night finally sent Ellis over the edge. Parties who had booked several prime tables didn’t show up, which not only hurt business but wasn’t fair to the guests who did have the courtesy to show up but had to take reservations at 6:15 or 9:30 instead of the 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. tables they wanted.

And when he got pissed, he fired their names off on Twitter. Since then, Ellis has been hailed for taking a stand against all those assholes who don’t have the common courtesy to call and cancel. It’s because of those assholes that we end up waiting at overbooked establishments everywhere. But I worry that the publicity may ultimately end in a very unwanted result for Red Medicine.

Now that everybody and their brother who reads the blogs knows what Ellis did—especially if he makes it a practice—I can just see some punks trying to pull a Bart Simpson and feeding Red Medicine prank reservations, hoping to see them on Twitter. “Thanks for being a no-show tonight, Seymour Butz,” the Tweet could read. Or, “Big thanks to I.P. Freeley, Jack Doff, Mike Rotch and Steve Smith (because obviously they won’t all be fake!) for skipping out between 7p and 9p Sat.

Now THAT would be bad for business.