Edinburgh woman launches new social media venture for restaurants to promote last minute free tables
An Edinburgh woman has launched a new social media venture which allows restaurants to promote last minute table openings as a result of cancellations or no-shows.
Digital creative and website developer Dr Lucy Lloyd has set up a new Facebook page called Your Table's Ready - Edinburgh which aims to match up city restaurants which have last minute table openings with people who like the idea of a spontaneous night out.
She is hoping to raise awareness of the Facebook group among Edinburgh restaurants so they can have fewer empty tables over the summer.
Lucy revealed where her idea came from: “I was reading so often about how no-shows in restaurants were debilitating businesses.
"My mother-in-law was visiting Edinburgh for the first time since covid began, and had a restaurant booked for dinner but she couldn’t go as it had to shut because of a covid contact.
"She then had the situation of wanting to eat out that night but the assumption was that everywhere was full. I thought then it was such a mismatch - people wanting last minute meals out, and restaurants wanting to fill last minute tables. Surely there was an obvious solution?
"The idea behind Your Table’s Ready is a restaurant can highlight a free table on the Facebook page, and the potential customer contacts them to book it.”
She revealed what she hopes to gain from the page: “I honestly just wanted to do my bit for the recovery. It's been heartbreaking reading about how businesses are suffering. I've been overwhelmed with the support though, and am going to be exploring what would be the most useful tool for restaurants to get their last minute availability out there.”
The scheme has been welcomed by the owners of an award-winning city restaurant which has been badly hit by a barrage of late cancellations and no-shows.
Management at Dine, in Edinburgh’s culture quarter, has had to introduce credit card charges for bookings after losing 80 bookings in the space of a week.
Paul Brennan, who opened the brasserie and cocktail bar nearly six years ago with Stuart Muir, has welcomed the launch of Lucy’s Facebook page.
He said: “Your Table's Ready - Edinburgh allows local businesses the opportunity to sell last minute cancellations and offers members of the Facebook group the chance to visit some of Edinburgh's most exciting dining restaurants whilst supporting the hospitality sector when it is needed most.
"We wholeheartedly applaud this initiate."
He continued: “Since we introduced the credit card charges we have seen a decline in no-shows with all but two tables turning up on Saturday night there for their reservation. But what we have also noticed is a 20 per cent decline in advanced reservation bookings. There is two ways to look at this – you could say these are the people who will let you down but you also have so many customers who aren’t keen to give out their credit card details because of online scams.”
He added: “The majority of people we have spoken to are in favour of charges but I think it will have to be the way forward to prevent businesses being impacted by late cancellations and customers not turning up for bookings.”