We’re seeing deposits for table bookings becoming more and more popular, with many restaurants choosing this option to protect themselves from no-show diners. According to the ResDiary Industry Report 2023, between January 2023 and February 2923, 5% of confirmed bookings resulted in no-shows, costing the average restaurant £1,325 during this period. That’s a total of £8,000 for the year!

62% of restaurants today are using booking systems like ResDiary to implement deposit schemes. There are lots of booking systems that can save customer card details and take payment online/over the phone.

What is an acceptable amount to charge a customer?
The ResDiary Industry Study has shown that the average required deposits range between £5 and £45 per person. Restaurants implementing a deposit scheme most commonly request £10 per person. However some restaurants are taking card details instead, eliminating the payment barrier that can put some customers off booking.

Should I only charge for big groups?
78% of restaurants only require a deposit for bookings of a certain size – a minimum of eight covers on average – according to The ResDiary Industry Study. But we are seeing more restaurants take deposits on every booking, no matter what the size.

What if the deposit fee is off putting for big groups?
Reassure your customers with clear Terms and Conditions on the booking page. When a customer books for a big group, they may have the fear that one or more of their party will drop out, leaving them to pick up the deposit charge. Depending on how you operate, if enough notice is given, you can move groups onto smaller tables and free up small tables for walk ins. Reassure your customers that they can contact you to update party sizes and the deposit amount will be returned to their card or taken off the bill. If done so in a timely manner of course.

What if I don’t feel comfortable charging my customers?
Take advantage of customer reminders via email or SMS that allows customers to ‘check in’ to their booking. Or do it the old-fashioned way and give your customer a call. This reminds customers of their booking and helps reduce no-shows.

In the ever-evolving hospitality industry, charging deposits for table bookings is on the rise, and is proving to be a valuable tool. The more this concept grows in popularity, the easier it will be for customers as it becomes the new ‘normal’. There are many websites like DiaryRes, Togo and Hostme that offer great booking systems, with varying levels of features and pricing.