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OpenTable seeks to reduce no-shows

New campaign urges diners to “book responsibly”

Bob and Mimi: Michael Voltaggio is looking for you.

The fictional couple is the 7 p.m. reservation at ink, Voltaggio’s Los Angeles restaurant. The problem? They didn’t show up.

They’re also the focus of a public-service campaign developed by tech company OpenTable and launched Tuesday to convince diners to “book responsibly.”

“Many people simply don’t realize the impact that no-shows and late cancellations have on the restaurant industry,” said Scott Jampol, OpenTable’s senior vice president of marketing, in a statement. “At OpenTable, we believe we have a responsibility to help build awareness of the issue and continue to leverage our technology and diner network in ways that reduce no-show rates and mitigate the impact of late cancellations.” 

At a conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Jampol said OpenTable data shows that the national no-show rate is about 5.7 percent for those who make reservations by phone. Diners who book through OpenTable, however, have a lower no-show rate, of about 4.6 percent, he said. 

In Los Angeles, the no-show rate is even higher: 8.1 percent for those booking by phone and 5.2 percent for those using OpenTable.

OpenTable is working to reduce that rate by adding features like text reservation confirmation options and reminders of upcoming reservations, in addition to advocacy efforts to make customers aware of the difficulties restaurants face if they don’t show up.

“We know that not everybody wants to put a credit card down, so we think advocacy can help,” Jampol said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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