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38,000 people who didn’t show up to their restaurant booking on Dimmi - Blacklisted


38,000 people who didn’t show up to their restaurant booking on Dimmi - Blacklisted


LOOK, let’s be real. We’ve all made a restaurant booking and at the last minute decided not to show up.

But Australia’s restaurant industry is hitting back against no-show diners who cost business owners millions in lost income, by putting these customers on a one-year black list.

Dimmi, Australia’s largest online restaurant booking network, used by 4000 restaurants around the country, has allowed its restaurant partners to blacklist diners who don’t honour their online bookings.

Since launching the policy in February last year, 38,000 diners have been black-listed, up from 3159 in 2015-2016. Despite this large figure, Dimmi says its restaurants have seen a 25 per cent decrease in no-shows over the past 12 months.

Part of its success is due to the introduction of the Dimmi Payments system, which securely stores customer credit card details in order to deter no-shows and take prepayments where applicable.

Dimmi founder and CEO Stevan Premutico.

Dimmi founder and CEO Stevan Premutico.Source: Supplied

Dimmi founder and CEO Stevan Premutico says the black-listing only applies to the restaurant where the original booking was made and lasts for a year. It can be “overridden” at the discretion of the restaurant.

“The restaurant will mark you as a no-show and you will be restricted from making another reservation at the restaurant again,” Mr Premutico told news.com.au.

“We’re not saying that life doesn’t happen. Sometimes the babysitter bails, you feel unwell or something comes up. That’s just life. What we are asking for people to do when that happens is to call and cancel, so the table can be rebooked.”

No-show bookings have a $75 million impact of the Australian restaurant industry, according to Mr Premutico, and account for about 3 per cent of all reservations.

Because the profit margins are so small in the industry — also around 3 per cent — a couple of no-show tables can mean the restaurant doesn’t make a profit that night.

“The majority of people don’t understand the significant impact this is having on the industry,” Mr Premutico said.

“They think somebody else is going to make up that booking, but that’s typically not the case. The brutal reality is that restaurant owner will probably go home that night without making a profit from that service.

“Most restaurants would have a couple of no-shows on a Friday or Saturday night, so they’re losing a couple of thousand dollars on their busy nights. If a restaurant is only making 3 per cent from their business, anything and everything impacts their revenues and hits them really hard,” he said.

A dish at Nel restaurant in Sydney — coffee bean with macadamia.

A dish at Nel restaurant in Sydney — coffee bean with macadamia.Source: Supplied

The owner of Sydney’s Nel, Nelly Robinson, says he has heard every excuse in the book from patrons who fail to show up for their booking, from “I’ve just been called into a last-minute meeting” to “I broke my knee cap on the way to our reservation”.

The best pearler though was from someone who said “I’m at Wentworth Avenue in Parramatta” — Nel is based on Wentworth Avenue in Sydney’s CBD.

Mr Premutico said the best excuses he’s heard are “It’s too hot” and “I’ve been called up for jury duty”.

“I had one the other day from a bloke who booked at a Chinese restaurant and said ‘I thought it was an Italian restaurant’,” he said.

Mr Premutico advises that if you plan on cancelling the booking, to give 24 hours notice as a common courtesy, but that four hours notice was still enough time for the restaurant to re-book the table.


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