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'They cancelled their card!' Cafe owner slams no-show customers who avoided fee

News'They cancelled their card!' Cafe owner slams no-show customers who avoided fee

A cafe owner has slammed recent no-show customers who not only didn’t show up for their booking, but cancelled their credit card so the business couldn’t charge them a fee. Cocoa Cabana, an award-winning chocolate shop with cafes in West Didsbury and Ancoats, hosts afternoon teas that when booked require credit card details. The card is only charged when a party doesn’t turn up or cancel within a reasonable time.

At the West Didbury cafe, a group of four had booked a chocolate afternoon tea on July 14. They failed to show up for their booking, and didn’t answer phone calls from staff who had already prepared their food.

The owner tried to claim the cost back of the afternoon tea – which had to be binned – but found the credit card left at the time of booking had been cancelled.

Cocoa Cabana’s afternoon teas are required to be booked in advance as staff make them to order. Treats include pastries, home made cakes and savoury items.

Taking to social media, Cocoa Cabana boss Sarah Gallacher expressed her frustration at the no-show. She wrote: “We had a table of 4 booked for today, we only have 3 tables. We made their afternoon teas which we then had to throw away.

“They didn’t show up, they didn’t call, they didn’t answer our call and they cancelled their card.”

Sarah told the Manchester Evening News the cafes had taken a deposit previously, but changed the way they took bookings after they found deposits put people off. She thinks giving false details or cancelling cards is becoming a trend, and she’s “sure lots of hospitality businesses are having similar issues to this right now.”

Sarah said: “I think this is what people do now, they either put fake details in when they book, or thy cancel their card. We knew it was a valid card when they made the booking, so we know they must have then cancelled it.”

She said customers not answering their phones is frustrating but added: “Most people are reasonable, and we’ve had people who have had to cancel who say they’ll come and pick up the afternoon teas instead as they know the costs involved in making it all.”

It was a tweet from Loose Women star Denise Welch which prompted Sarah to share her story, with Denise complaining about the amount of information you need to give to make a restaurant booking.

The TV panellist wrote: “Do you remember the days when you could make a restaurant reservation without having to basically give your financial history, bank details and the day your grandmother entered menopause!!! FFS.”

Several business owners shared the reasons why so many details are required, including Sarah and the owner of Tatton Perk cafe in Knustford who responded: “Do you remember when the public were polite enough to honour a booking and not dump the restaurant owners with empty tables? A culture of disregard has taken hold in our country.

“Taking your details is surely a way to protect small businesses from being left out of pocket.”

And award-winning pub Parkers Arms replied to Denise: “Oh the romantic notion that is. Sadly no longer a viable option for restaurants these days.”

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