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New booking app intends to combat no-shows in London restaurants

A new app allows restaurants to turn no-shows and late-cancellations into bookings with diners seeking last-minute seats in London.

SparePlace allows restaurants to advertise empty slots in their bookings that have suddenly become available.

Alessandro Ceccarelli created the app after noticing that people “struggle to make plans in advance and restaurants are often fully booked (in some cases even weeks in advance), even for a small party of two.”

With his partner, software engineer Luca Pontone, Ceccarelli collated data on no-shows in restaurants, finding that the industry loses roughly £1 billion each year from late-cancellations.

Ceccarelli cites executive chef, Michael Voltaggio who said “even if you have a check of £50 per person, and two people a night don’t show up… that’s over £36,000 that you’re losing on your business for that year.”

For now, the app is focused on mobile-friendly students and professionals based in London, expecting an age-range of 20-55 years old.

Users who cannot attend, or cancel their reservations late and want to save on fees, will post their booking on the app for users looking for ‘spare places’ at “the best restaurants and bars in London.” Restaurants too, will be able to post live-bookings for last-minute customers.

Users will join a virtual queue and be met with a notification, rather than a host, when their table is ready.

By posting reservations on the app, users will also earn “diners points” to spend on “special rewards”, including access to offers, discounts and pre-sales.

The app is currently being trialled in a handful of central London restaurants before it launches on 11 November.

He said his aim is for the app to become “the leading last-minute booking system in Europe, establishing a direct connection between users and companies that provide online bookings.”

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