Expect to make a down payment on your next dinner reservation

DENVER (KDVR) — Dining at your favorite Colorado restaurants could soon cost you a little more. Well, a little more up front.

A growing number of fine dining establishments are taking a new tactic by requiring a down payments on reservations to help curb losses brought on by the pandemic.

Now, this is something many restaurants across the United States, including here in Colorado, started even before COVID was a thing.

However, given the financial impact still felt by our local eateries, countless others are following suit.

“It just makes sense, otherwise you can’t sustain a business. I think it should be normalized for sure,” said Meghan Zobeck, a Denver native and winemaker.

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During the first year of the pandemic, Colorado restaurants lost more than $3 billion in revenue.

When you factor in no-show reservations that were placed after restaurants reopened, that figure is even higher.

Frasca well-known restaurant in Boulder, has a down payment reservation fee in place.

“There might be a $15, $25, up to maybe a $50 deposit that is refunded when you show up for the reservation. Now we understand, of course, that goes things come up. People test positive for COVID and they can’t come and we refund that. But the days of having a reservation and a guest having what we call a ‘no-show’ and not showing up for the reservation, which happens a lot — we can’t afford anymore,” said Bobby Stuckey, co-owner of Frasca and other restaurants in the Denver and Boulder area.

Prior to having a down payment reservation system in place, Stuckey says he might’ve seen between 10% and 20% of no-shows or late, last second reservation cancellations.

Stuckey says when you add it up over a year, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

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