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A frustrated restaurant owner has shared his disappointment after 22 no-shows in a single night cost his restaurant £200 in wasted food.
As the cost of living crisis continues to affect people across the UK, Marios Bregu, who runs Maria’s Greek Taverna in Cardiff, is pleading with customers to get in touch if they need to cancel a reservation.
Speaking to WalesOnline, the 28-year-old explained that his restaurant in Crwys Road, Cathays, was “hit hard” by the no-shows last Saturday. Binning £200 worth of food at the end of the night “hurt me so badly,” he said.
In a Facebook post, the restaurant said: “We had a table of 20 and a 10 booked in, 30 people in total. We set the tables up and moved the restaurant around early evening to accommodate these, turning away other bookings. On the evening eight guests in total arrived over the bookings.”
Only four customers arrived for each of the two tables and no explanation was given for the 22 empty chairs. The restaurant had missed out on three potential bookings and two walk-ins. Mr Bregu said: “No-shows have been happening more in the past few months with the recession and the gas and petrol prices. I don’t charge people a deposit because I know we are all struggling in the same boat.”
Maria’s added in its Facebook post: “We don’t want to call out our guests, or make anyone feel bad but we want to highlight the damage no-show or late cancellations have on small businesses… It’s OK if plans change, but please do let us and other restaurants know. Even with an hour or so notice (or when you know there will be a change of plan) we can take other reservations or walk-ins and set up our restaurant to welcome all.”
Mr Bregu, who has a 20-month-old daughter, said the cost of living crisis has been challenging for the restaurant, which has recently seen a drop in delivery orders and in average spend per customer. Its energy bills have soared from £1,800 to £4,140 a year and its annual water bill from £600 to £995.
“I work Monday to Sunday, 95 hours a week, and I might make £1,000 profit in a month,” said Mr Bregu, who opened the restaurant in 2018. “I want to keep the business open because it’s all I have and I like to see happy faces here. We get good reviews and I love that, but at the end of the day I need to put food on my daughter’s table… it is really tough.”
Maria’s recently introduced deals of three courses for £20, which is available to all customers, and five meze dishes for £25, available to social media followers.
The restaurant said: “We want to help combat the cost of living crisis and ensure there are still affordable options for people to dine out.”
The business also offers a 10% discount for students and NHS workers.
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