America isn't the only place where fine dining establishments are getting serious about cancellations. According to the South China Morning Post, restaurants in Hong Kong have started to implement hefty cancellation fees that often cost as much as the meal itself.
The list includes three-Michelin starred Sushi Shikon, which now chargers diners a fee of HK $500 ($65 USD) for any cancellation (though customers are given the option to move their reservations to a different date). If the cancellation is made within 72 hours of the reservation time, the fee goes up to HK $1,250 ($161 USD). As for those who cancel the day of the reservation, are a no show, or show up more than an hour late, they are a charged the full price of the omakase which is HK $3,500 ($451 USD). The restaurant notes on its website that the strict policy is because "the fresh ingredients for each guest's meal are flown in from Japan and we have very limited seating."
Restaurant owners note that these policies are due to the number of no shows that occur, or the number of parties that book a large reservation but show up with less people. While restaurants like Per Se (New York City) and Benu (San Francisco) charge hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees, other fine dining establishments — such as Coi in San Francisco and the Clove Club in London — eschewed the issue completely when they switched to a ticketing system like restaurateur Nick Kokonas' Tock. Under such a system, diners have to pay for their meals and service fees when making the reservation. If they don't show up, the restaurant already has collected the bill.