“Foodie hipster heaven” The Clove Club will become the first UK restaurant to charge diners who cancel their reservations less than 24 hours in advance or fail to show up at all. From April restaurant-goers who make bookings at the old Shoreditch Town Hall dining room will be required to register their debit or credit card details, buying ‘tickets’ for their meal.
We must admit that this strikes us as a determinedly un-hipster-like policy. Less laissez-faire and more pay your fare in advance.
But then again, perhaps this is the natural progression of things? The Clove Club say they have become increasingly frustrated by the number of no-shows and restaurants (especially fine dining establishments) tend to have very thin profit margins.
Using Tock software designed by restaurateur Nick Kokonas (the Chicago restaurateur behind Alinea, Next, and the Aviary) diners will purchase tickets in advance of their meal from the restaurant’s website. If they choose to cancel their booking within 24 hours of their reservation, or don’t show up, a £65 charge per person will be applied to the card.
The restaurant’s website says: “We call every reservation 36 hours in advance to confirm the booking and require at least 24 hours notice for a cancellation. Once inside this notice period, should you wish to cancel or fail to show – a fee of £65 per guest will be applied to the debit/credit card details provided at the time of booking.”
Kokonas’s system has been hotly anticipated within the industry and, after months of speculation, he finally launched the ticketing software at his Chicago restaurants in January. Although The Clove Club are indeed the first UK restaurant to use Tock, there is a similar system in place at Pied Ã Terre, and a few other London restaurants, through a company called Bookingrid. Diners can book time slots and pay for their meal and wine in advance.