At Café Binnenvisser in Amsterdam guests couldn’t reserve a table. Everyone could walk in for a glass of wine or a sit down dinner. Now, guests have to reserve a table and make a prepayment. Bob Nagel (owner) talks about this necessary change.
When you opened there was no possibility to make a reservation, why?
"We opened with the idea of having a bar with good quality food where guests could just swing by for a glass of wine or have dinner. There was a lot of diversity amongst the guests. Some only came for the bar experience, others came for a more fancy dinner. When we had to work with reservations, asking for a prepayment was a big but logical step."
Why was this a logical step?
"We heard from other restaurants who didn’t work with prepayments that they had quite a few no-shows. We wanted to avoid that. Now we have hardly any no-shows."
Has the average expense increased since you’ve been working with prepayments?
"More guests come for dinner compared to before. These guests also spend a bit more than guests that only come for the bar experience. The crowd used to be a bit more mixed with bar guests and restaurant guests. We’re still a bar, but in these insecure times we can’t afford to only have guests who come for two glasses of wine. Of course we still have spots for walk-ins, but a little less than before."
Did you get any negative response when you started working with prepayments?
"In the past months we only got one reaction from a guest who thought the prepayment was a bit high. I don’t agree with that. The amount we ask is the amount that guests who have dinner at our place spend at least. Apart from that single reaction we didn’t get any other negative responses. We don't know if guests avoid reserving because they have to do a prepayment, so that could be something to look into."