It’s another case of the anonymity of internet corrupting societal morality.

Being able to reserve a table at a restaurant with the swipe of an app has caused the number of ‘no shows’ to skyrocket in recent years. You probably know exactly what we’re talking about.

Skipping out on a reservation without notice has become so commonplace that Darcy MacDonell, owner of Toronto’s Farmhouse Tavern, has called the behaviour “the new hot trend in dining.” Last November, his restaurant saw an astonishing 97 cancellations and ‘no shows’ in a 24-hour period.

To fight what has become a major problem for many restaurants, MacDonell launched a social media campaign with two simple messages: respect the restaurant and stop no-shows.

Remember: if your dinner plans have changed for tonight let the restaurant know! #restaurants #smallbiz

A photo posted by FARMHOUSEtavern (@farmhousetavern) on

“It’s hard on the psyche,” says MacDonell about not knowing when he can expect a customer to follow through with their reservation. “Some restaurants have the luxury of having good walk-in traffic but many do not.”

His resto is considered a “destination restaurant,” which means it’s very difficult on some nights to expect cancelled reservations to be made up for with people walking in the door.

He suggests the ease of being able to reserve a restaurant these days plays a big role.

“There’s a certain anonymity to just hitting a button and cancelling,” says MacDonell, who now avoids reservation platforms that allow customers to book a spot more than one day in advance. Other restaurants have resorted to accepting reservations strictly by phone and follow up each one with a confirmation call the day of.

“I just want people to be aware. Think of your favourite restaurant and how you want it to survive and thrive. A little consideration goes a long way,” he says.

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