A COUNCIL has expressed its concern after more eateries in a town reported that they are again beginning to see people not showing up for their booked tables.

Penrith Town Councillor, Scott Jackson, said he sees the issue as being 'huge' for businesses in the town.

The town council recently issued a plea on social media for people to ring eateries to cancel their bookings if they cannot attend.

"Food prices have gone up, staff shortages are a problem, and some of these businesses are just about breaking even," said Cllr Jackson.

"Small businesses at the best of times can struggle with getting people through the door, but as it is now - having long periods of time where they have been unable to open - these companies and restaurants really need to crack on and do as much business as possible.

"There's no malice in forgetting a dinner reservation, but when it happens three or four times in a single night that can be the difference between a business making a profit and making a loss.

"It is sickening when you have tried to do the best you can to help out and the restaurant is a third empty.

"It's bad for the employees and it's bad for the employers."

Luca Erriu, co-owner of Gianni's Pizzeria in Penrith - which is one of the restaurants that has been impacted by 'no shows' - said they have also experienced people not showing up to collect their takeaways.

"It had more of an impact a few months ago. It was pretty bad," said Luca.

"It's not as bad now, but it still happens. We have to refuse people who really want to come and then there is a no show.

"It's not just us. It happens to other restaurants as well.

"If it was the other way around and a customer [booked] a table and we told them [afterwards] that it wasn't available anymore, we would be slated."

Managing Director of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Caldwell, called the incidents of no showings 'immensely unfair'.

She said: "Businesses in the hospitality sector are struggling enough with finding and keeping enough staff without also having to cope with a resurgence of the 'no show' issue.

"They staff up for a shift taking into account the bookings they have. If customers then don’t turn up for their bookings it means they have 'wasted' scarce staff resources – often as well as losing custom through having turned other bookings down/customers away.

"This is immensely unfair behaviour by those people who are making bookings then just not turning up and puts added pressure on hard pressed people trying to run businesses and provide a service. It only takes a couple of minutes to cancel so why can’t people just do that?"

A spokesperson for Penrith Town Council added: "After the long and difficult year that our businesses have had it is disappointing that this is happening.

"Obviously people’s circumstances change, life happens or gets in the way but the Town Council would like to encourage anyone who has a table booked and then can’t make it to ring and cancel so that eateries can accept walk ins and fill their tables."