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London Institution St. John Will Reopen With a No-Show Fee

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The restaurant responds to growing disquiet over diners not turning up

Welsh rarebit at St. John, one of central London’s best snacks Eater

Seminal London restaurant St. John will reopen with a no-show fee of £20 per diner, as co-owners Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver acknowledge that even a restaurant with its reputation is not immune to customers not turning up. The Clerkenwell restaurant, and its sibling in Spitalfields, St. John Bread and Wine, will reopen on 29 July, according to Bloomberg’s Richard Vines.

Gulliver said that “It’ll be great to fire up the stoves and to put good things on the plate once more. The ‘no-shows’ experience of many already is not acceptable. One pandemic is enough! Hence the charge.”

His comments come in the context of a number of London restaurants posting messages on social media in recent days, with various degrees of both anger and actual fixing of the problem. North London restaurant group that consists of Jolene in Newington Green, Primeur in Highbury, and Westerns Laundry in Holloway announced that it was raising its no-show charge to £50; TV chef Tom Kerridge, meanwhile, posted a picture of a soldier from 300 and labelled customers “disgraceful, shortsighted and down right unhelpful,” as well as “selfish.”

No-show discourse is not new, even if it has been exacerbated by anxiety over a future in which dining is restricted by COVID-19. But even in this new context, the arguments aren’t really changing: take a fee — but most won’t — because customers are selfish — that simply isn’t the only thing at play. This lays out one of the kinks of the no-show issue: while the “restaurant industry” unilaterally recognises it as a socially unacceptable ill, it remains divided on what to actually do about it.

Booking for St. John opens from Friday 17 July.

St. John

26 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4AY 020 7251 0848 Visit Website


116 Petherton Road, , England N5 2RT 020 7226 5271 Visit Website


54 Great Jones Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 Visit Website

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, , England N5 1PB 020 7700 3700 Visit Website