Sheffield restaurant's plea to customers after costly no-shows

A popular Sheffield restaurant has urged diners to think of the impact on small businesses after a raft of no-shows.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 5:25 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 5:39 pm

Daniela Cooke, the owner of La Mama on Abbeydale Road, said five groups had failed to show up for bookings in the past couple of weeks, including three last night alone.

With space on its tiny terrace for just three tables of two, or a single table of six, every no-show is particularly costly as the Latin tapas bar and restaurant tries to make up for the revenue lost during lockdown.

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Daniela Cooke, owner of La Mama on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, is upset about the numberb of no-shows. She's pictured with chefs Iago Gastro and Andy Sanderson. Picture Scott Merrylees

“It’s incredibly disappointing to have so many no-shows because these are incredibly challenging times for everyone, but especially for those businesses that had to close for several months due to the pandemic,” she said.

“For such a small restaurant, no-shows can honestly mean a lot so it’s incredibly important that if you can’t make your reservation you let us know. Last night, we could have rebooked those tables but we ended up turning people away.

"Some people are hedging their bets and requesting bookings at more than one place because they’re so desperate to find somewhere to eat now they can go out.

Daniela Cooke says no-shows hit small businesses like La Mama particularly hard

"But we’d ask them to show a little bit of patience and wait for a member of staff to call or email to confirm, and if you can’t make a booking just call to let us know because it only takes a second.”

On a more positive note, Ms Cooke said she and her team had really enjoyed welcoming back customers since outdoor dining was permitted on April 12.

"It’s been so great to see everybody again and to feel a little bit more of the buzz back in hospitality,” she said.

"Just having the team back together again after all this time has been so lovely.”

She added that La Mama’s partnership with the neighbouring Dead Donkey bar, where customers can order street food from the restaurant to accompany their drinks, had been a big success.

La Mama is open Thursday to Saturday, from 11am each day, with the last orders taken for food at 8pm-8.30pm.