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Securing more reservations with Formitable

by Chantal Arnts

Auberge Jean & Marie is a French cuisine restaurant, a place with a personal approach, white linen and natural light from the art deco stained glass. It originated from childhood memories and culinary experiences from the owners' youth and career paths. The Auberge needed a system to streamline their reservations and revenue.


Before Formitable, Auberge Jean & Marie used to call, email and text their guests to make sure they were keeping their reservations. The issue? Not only was this time-consuming, they also still had a no-show rate of 10-12%. Since working with prepayments, this percentage has dropped to a staggering 0,1%. 

Unfulfilled reservations are not manageable

Sander Fekkes, working for Auberge Jean & Marie for just over 2 years, tells us, “At the Auberge we have 58 covers, the first two years we had 10-12% no-shows every day. There is no way to compete with this percentage in other areas of your restaurant if you have so few couverts. The no-shows challenge mainly erupted because we attract the business and corporate segment, being a great place for a business lunch or dinner, along with being only 10 minutes away from the Zuidas by metro. I know from working in the sales and marketing industry previously that you book a number of restaurants and let your client decide what they feel like on the day itself. For a restaurant with so few couverts, these unfulfilled reservations are not manageable.”

We are very personal in our approach and service. In hospitality, prepayments are still reasonably rare. However, in other industries providing experiences and services, such as going to a museum or cinema, it is normalized to pay in advance. Additionally, we often had to disappoint guests as our restaurant was fully booked, not knowing the reservations would not show up. To make as many guests happy as possible, prepayments are the perfect, transparent fix.”

“With prepayments we tackled and beat our biggest problem; no-shows.”

With Formitable, Sander was convinced from the start. “I am very pleased with how intuitive Formitable works. A self-explanatory interface that makes such a difference in convenience and managing day-to-day tasks. We have been working with prepayments since the beginning of 2018 and we are a big advocate. When making a reservation at the Auberge we always ask for a prepayment of a fixed amount, €25. Before we worked with prepayments, our team would call on the day itself to check in with our guests if they were still coming, we would also send text messages and emails. This did not help much. Of course, guests always have the intention to come, but they can always decide otherwise on the day itself; we’re all human and we can easily change our mind or mood. This is a fragile construct to work with as a restaurant and this challenge can’t be solved in this time-consuming manner. Prepayments are the only solution.” 

Auberge Jean & Marie

Increased and predictable revenue

“Ninety-nine percent of our guests understand why we ask for prepayments; we get very understanding reactions to it. And the data doesn’t lie; no-shows dropped from 12% to 0,1%: prepayments are extremely effective, so to speak. Since our no-shows dropped to a minimum, our revenue has been more predictable and has increased accordingly. On our website, we explain to our guests our frame of mind concerning prepayments. In the future, we want to strengthen our bond with our regular guests, and we will continue with our Épicerie, a deli next to our restaurant with gourmet delicacies to take the Auberge experience home. The restaurant will, of course, remain our core business, but the Épicerie will be continued. An upward trend can now be observed. We expect to continue with Formitable as we are doing now, and always keep an eye out for improvements that help us be even more successful.” 

About Jean & Marie

Instagram @auberge_amsterdam
Facebook Auberge Jean & Marie
Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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