All It Takes Is One Phone Call – Vanessa Tai

Last week, I had the privilege to take part in Singapore Restaurant Week’s Media Food Trail, which took me from the lush gardens of One Rochester to the breathtaking skylines at Salt Grill & Sky Bar. While I enjoyed the food tremendously, a little nugget of information mentioned during over the course of evening got me feeling a little troubled. According to Desi Wentink, Managing Director of DiningCity.com Singapore (the organiser of Restaurant Week), Singapore has the highest no-show rate in the world when it comes to restaurant reservations.

Yes, you read that right. Based on information from Dining City – which organises Restaurant Week in over 40 cities throughout the year – Singapore has consistently emerged as the city with the highest number of no-shows. While disconcerting, this news didn’t come as much of a shocker. Have you realised that whenever an event is organised on Facebook, most people would click “Maybe Attending” and will only show up if something more happening doesn’t crop up? When it comes to restaurant reservations, Wentink said it’s not uncommon for Singaporeans to make bookings for up to five restaurants on the same evening, only to choose one at the last minute. Note: These restaurant-goers do not call ahead to inform the other four restaurants that they won’t be dining there that evening.

Perhaps this “Maybe Attending” phenomenon stems from our inherent “kiasu” trait; we always want the best option for ourselves. However, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that such inconsiderate behaviour does not bode well if Singapore truly wants to move into First World status. When a diner bails on a reservation without calling ahead, the repercussions are two-fold: the restaurants may lose out on potential business and other diners may also lose out on the chance of a good night out simply because the restaurant of their choice was “all booked out”.

It really isn’t so difficult to pick up the phone and cancel your reservation.  Let’s aim to replace our embarrassing rep as “City With Highest No-Show Rate” with “Best City to Dine Out In”!

Singapore Restaurant Week is back from 7 to 14 October 2012. All bookings can be made online from 12 September at http://www.restaurantweek.sg . American Express Cardmembers* get exclusive booking privileges from 5 September. This year, to curb no-shows, Dining City Singapore will be creating a Twitter feed to notify followers about restaurant cancellations, so you’ll still have a chance to get a spot at your coveted restaurant!

*Applicable to all American Express Cards issued by American Express International, Inc. in Singapore (excluding American Express Cards issued by DBS and UOB)

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