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St Andrews chef charges 'drunk' diners £650 after they cancel reservation


Oct. 08, 2019

A top St Andrews chef has defended his decision to charge a group of customers who failed to show up £650.
Earlier this year, MasterChef finalist Dean Banks announced he has lost his patience with no-show diners and was introducing a system where customers who failed to phone ahead to cancel would be charged a deposit.
He has now followed through on the policy for a major booking for the first time after a table of nine did not turn up to his Haar Restaurant in North Street.
He said the diners, who had come from America to play golf in St Andrews, phoned an hour after their reservation time.
Under Mr Banks’ policy, bank card details are taken and those who do not turn up by the time of their booking are charged.
“They (the diners) obviously raised it with the bank, but the bank sided with us,” added the Arbroath-born chef.
“The payment was made because we provided all the evidence.”
Mr Banks, who made it to the final three of MasterChef: The Professionals last year, said it was the largest amount that had been charged for a no-show since he changed his booking policy.
He said: “It’s unfortunate and something we didn’t want to do, but there would have been a complete loss of revenue if we hadn’t done it on that Saturday night for a big table.
“There was still a loss of revenue because it was a tasting menu and we had no drinks sales. It’s not what we would have taken for a table of nine.
“It’s about educating people that a seat at a restaurant is like booking a seat at the theatre or on an aeroplane.”
The disgruntled customers tried to leave a poor rating on TripAdvisor but Mr Banks was having none of it.
He hit back with his side of the story and the website took down the message.
Because of the way TripAdvisor ratings are calculated, the one star review could have affected his business.
“TripAdvisor have been very good and have removed it already,” he added.
Mr Banks told The Courier in May that he would be overhauling his booking system after 14 people failed to turn up one Saturday, meaning food destined for their plates ended up in the bin.
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