Explosive: Smyth Calls Out No-Shows, Suggests Reverse Yelp: Rate Customers

smyth1by Andrew Chalk

Smyth posted the following on their Facebook page late Saturday:  

“Smyth strives to make a personal cocktail for each person that walks through our doors. The reservation-only model is not in place to keep people out, but to preserve the experience of those with the consideration and appreciation to make reservations for that experience.

That being said, The Smyth Family would like to personally thank the people that care enough to make a reservation, (especially large groups) & then decide not show up (or even call) while other, more-appreciative patrons would have wanted the aforementioned experience we planned.

No Shows Listed By Reservation:
– Monica Dominguez – 9 ppl – 10:15
– Andrew Turner – 6 ppl – 10:30
– Ramin Jafari – 2 ppl – 11:30
– Alfredo Rodriguez – 4 ppl – 11:30
– Clark Gable (srsly) – 6 ppl – 12am
– Elia Torres – 3 ppl – 12am
Smyth would also like to thank the people who showed up 30-minutes-to-an-hour late and we tried to accommodate anyway. It’s a reserved seat, not a guest list spot:
– Cyd Williams – 4 ppl – 8:45pm
– Katherine Fife – 3 ppl – 9pm
– Tyler Berger – 4ppl – 12am

We should not forget the 3 other parties that felt 15-30 minutes before a confirmed reservation is an acceptable time to cancel ( probably emergency situations all of them).

Smyth will also take this moment to apologize to everyone who has called us all week trying to get in this Friday night. And we mean this in sincerity. When you are fully booked a week and a half in advance, you wouldn’t think people who plan that far ahead would necessitate us having a waiting list. We apologize and sincerely hope we can treat you soon, we just wish that it could have been tonight.

Cynicism still aside, thank you to those who make reservations, show up on time, stick to the number they reserved, confirm their table, don’t prop the door open, understand when the next reservation arrives, bring new people in, forgive us when we come up short, and who appreciate that we are trying to do something different, special and unique here,

You get it. Smyth would not be here without you. This isn’t for us. We are here to serve you and Smyth takes great pride in that service. So much so, that it is difficult to deal with people who don’t respect that. You understand that we made the model we made to make sure that all of you have the best experience possible. Thank You.

Be Safe Tonight, Y’all. And Respect the Rezo. – Smyth”


In the comments, one of Smyth’s mixologists/bartenders/manager posted:

Omar Yeefoon I’m beta-testing the reverse Yelp. Where people can make reviewable profiles for customers.

First, I would like to congratulate Smyth on holding the no-shows (the people in the first of the lists above) responsible. There is absolutely no excuse for them failing to cancel reservations they had no intention of honoring. They did so because they thought they would not be held responsible for their actions (if you were killed in a car crash, e-mail the death certificate). They will blame their parents/society/global warming, anybody but themselves. They should have to actually pay compensation to Smyth, the staff, and the displaced customers.

Second, publishing the above first list will help Smyth because it will discourage people of this degree of personal responsibility from reserving with Smythe in the future. Smythe will have a more credible Friday night ‘book’ and staff morale will rise anticipating that the numbers coming in are real. It will also help other busy establishments: They can blacklist the names in the first list. OpenTable can  auto-cancel people on that list so that they don’t queue-block.

Third, I do hope the second list were those who not only showed up late but did not call to warn that they would be late. There are all kinds of legitimate reasons to be 30-60 minutes late in this town (three are traffic, traffic and traffic) so being late and calling is very different from being late and not calling.

Likewise, the parties who cancelled within 30 minutes of their reservation. Smyth may be sailing a little close to the wind calling them out as three out of what, 60 reservations, needing a last-minute cancellation is only 5 percent.

Finally, Smyth has drawn attention to the reservation system itself. We make no- deposit reservations because the restaurant business is so competitive. Ninety five percent of places would go out of business if they tried to charge a cancellation fee. Smyth is apparently in the enviable position of being able to fill each seat twice at weekends. I suggest to them that they charge a well publicized reservation fee (refundable against the bill) if a reservation is not cancelled within X hours (Smyth  can choose the X) of the reservation time. I would hazard a guess that as little as $10 would virtually eliminate no-shows. One thing you find about people who practice the most grossly irresponsible behavior is they won’t pay much for their habit.



Filed under Andrew Chalk

17 responses to “Explosive: Smyth Calls Out No-Shows, Suggests Reverse Yelp: Rate Customers

  1. As a chronic on-timer, I love it! Reminds me of the old corner Bodegas in New York City neighborhoods where the owners would tape customer’s checks the bounced on the wall next to the cash register for all to see.

  2. cmd

    As a chronic on-timer I do NOT Love it and what Smyth may find is it will no longer have a waiting list at least that is what I hope. Shame on you Smyth, don’t blame the public for your inabilty to have a workable business model in place.

    • This problem is not specific to them or their business model, and is a major problem across the restaurant industry. This loss of business is why many restaurants, now, will not accept reservations on Friday or Saturday night, forcing customers to wait in line for hours if they’d like to eat there. Not showing up, whether it be for a doctor’s appointment, an appointment to fix someone’s sink, a restaurant reservation, unannounced, is a self-absorbed, rude thing to do. Being the ‘almighty customer,’ or rather, non-customer that just sucked up the time and money of good people trying to make a buck, should not completely insulate you from being called out on that behavior.

      • Abs

        That’s the cost of doing business. If it’s a common issue in the industry, then why didn’t they do something about beforehand?

  3. Bill

    I agree with CMD. And to Clark Gable I would like to buy you a drink but not at Smyth

  4. ed

    That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of. We boycott smyth now!!

  5. Chanell

    The idea would be great but there’s one HUGE problem with their ‘no call/charge’ idea. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called this place to make a reservation and no one answers, maybe that’s part of the problem. Still love the place.

  6. Abs

    Is there an “e” on the end of the name of the bar or not?

  7. J-Pho

    “This problem is not specific to them or their business model, and is a major problem across the restaurant industry.” NOT just in the restaurant industry, but it’s a problem in general. People simply have ZERO accountability anymore. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve met someone new, or ran into an acquaintance, and heard “Let’s get lunch next week, I’ll call you!” and never heard from them again. Or someone telling me “If there’s anything you need at all, do not hesitate to ask” and then when I’ve asked for something simple like checking my mailbox, they don’t answer my text/call. Or how about when you have a terrible experience at a restaurant & they ask for your address & say they’re going to send you something…. and then you never see anything come, not even a “We’re sorry” note. The unfortunate reality of our society now is that the majority of people are self-absorbed, they like to say they will do something, and then choose not to do it – and feel NO personal struggle with their values or ethics. Remember that old saying “You’re only as good as your word?” Yeah, well, that died out with the 18th century when people lost their dignity & at times even their lives for not holding true to their word. Nowadays – we don’t punish people or have any recourse, really, when someone lets us down, except to sigh, shrug, and move on to the next. Or make a list of their names & post it on the world wide web, lol. Kudos to Smyth for holding a few inconsiderate a-holes accountable for their actions (and non-actions)!

  8. Someone just needs to make a reservation app for phones. Require that people download it when making a reservation. If they want to cancel, they simply hit a button and the place of business is notified and can start contacting backups. As a ‘self-absorbed, rude person’ who has flake out on several reservations due to illness, flakey friends, car trouble, bank account trouble, forgot that I had a date across town, flakey dates, working late, etc.. I would totally use that app.

    • We know of just such an app that will roll out in the next few weeks. Had a chance to review the app and it is mega powerful. Will have more information when it goes public.

      • Mark Scutaro

        For one, stop creating your own percentages and making up information in your article. Unless you actually have experience in the industry, its unfair for you to speculate on what the numbers mean. Smythe makes the mistake of assuming that people understand the industry whom are not in the industry. We all know that failure to understand a reservation system is something that most people can’t grasp. The problem is that Smythe is assuming that the only way for a service industry location to survive is via reservations. Walk-in business is critical to all service industry locations, and by staving yourself to business solely on reservations, in turn, being unable to accommodate walk-in guests when your reservations have cancelled, is your own fault. There’s something to be said for offering a custom experience and reserving every table, but while I give credit to Smythe for doing this, and I greatly credit them for having the balls to call people out for not showing up, they have to understand that they are a product of their own system for not having back-up options in place to fulfill their reservation log should others not arrive.

    • Michael

      That is how opentable works which is what Smyth uses.

  9. J

    The problem is that they released customer information that should be private, which could possibly lead to those customers getting harassed. Privacy was violated both my Smyth and this website. I expect that if those people named find out they will likely be calling their lawyer.

  10. Pingback: Smyth: The Reservation | cravedfw

  11. Dan

    The answer is simple, just accept a limited number of walk ins! There will definitely be people who are willing to try their luck. If someone is 30 minutes or more late and hasn’t called to notify the bar, give their table away! What they did is incredibly passive aggressive and in poor taste.

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