A Dublin restaurant is booked out for months on end and not for the first time.
Fine dining restaurant Heron & Grey, which was awarded a Michelin star last year has informed customers that it is not currently taking any reservations.
“Our reservations are full until April of 2018 and we are currently not taking any more reservations at this time,” says the restaurant’s website.
However, you can join their mailing list in the event of last-minute cancellations.
The niche restaurant, which changes its menu with the seasons, only has the capacity for 66 people a week.
As a result of this, it runs a very strict cancellation policy, where a no-show will cost diners €100.
“We must specifically prepare food in advance for every guest dining with us at Heron & Grey,” states the terms and conditions.
“In the event that one of your guests decide they cannot make their meal at the last minute, your booking will be void unless you can replace this empty seat.
“An additional charge of €100 per no-show guest will also be charged to your final bill for any/all tables that show up less anyone guest as was originally sold as their stated table size.”
As well as a ‘no-show’ fee, diners must ring ahead with dietary conditions, such as being pregnant.
“Heron & Grey provides a no-choice, set menu option only, which means each piece of food must be carefully prepared in advance for each specific guest,” the terms and conditions state.
The Michelin-starred restaurant is used to high demand because last November, its seats for the following number of months were booked out in less than 60 seconds.
About 3,000 people tried to book a seat in the small restaurant, via its online booking system.
Heron & Grey is one of Ireland’s 13 Michelin-starred restaurants.
Menus here can stretch as long as 11 courses and take three hours to get through.
Heron & Grey’s booking policy may be ahead of the curve because earlier this month, the Restaurant Association of Ireland called for fees to cover no-shows.
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the association, said people booking tables and then not showing up is “rampant across the country”.
In an effort to tackle the issue the association has suggested restaurants impose a non-refundable deposit of €20 for bookings of four or more.
The idea is that the deposit is then deducted from the final bill and if the party does not turn up then the money is forfeited.
“We wrote to all our members advising them of a deposit policy to stamp out ‘no-shows’ in restaurants. Restaurants need to establish whatever deposit they feel they need to take and the minimal time for cancellation,” Mr Cummins said.
“In the average restaurant between 15% and 20% of bookings were no-shows [over Christmas].
“That’s a substantial amount of no-shows in a busy time. That’s the difference between surviving and not [surviving] for some businesses,” Mr Cummins said.
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