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Opinion: ‘They’re punishing us,’ says Burnaby restaurant owner hit by fake orders from anti-vaxxers

Owner says business will still enforce the rules
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iStock photo

Apparently anti-vaxxers opposed to B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system aren’t satisfied with just blocking people from entering hospitals through their protests.

Now they are punishing local businesses who are following the rules by enforcing the vaccine passports that began today (Monday).

A Burnaby restaurant owner told the NOW that they had been hit by a series of fake food orders in which food was ordered over the phone and then the caller just didn’t show up to pick up the take-out food. 

“This is something that happens rarely and then, boom, we get a bunch of these in the past few days,” said the owner, who doesn’t want their name or business name printed for fear it will encourage others to target them. “This isn’t a coincidence. We’ve had a few customers raise their voices when we told them that we would comply with the new rules. I’ve heard from others who are bracing for this to happen. I’m not going to let it get to me. It’s frustrating but it’s only a few orders.

"They're punishing us just because they don't like what health officials are doing."

The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association has spoken out about restaurants being targeted this way.

Other businesses during the pandemic have been subjected to fake lawsuit letters falsely alleging they have been violating human rights by enforcing the mask mandate. Many workers have been yelled at for simply explaining the rules at businesses ranging from restaurants to grocery stores throughout the pandemic.

Restaurants have been hit in other ways too by bad customers.

According to the OpenTable data, almost one in 10 Canadians say they haven't shown up for a reservation in the past year.

"When a diner doesn't fulfill a reservation, it significantly impacts the restaurant's revenue," said Matt Davis, Country Director, OpenTable Canada. "At OpenTable, we have a responsibility to help build awareness of this issue and leverage our technology in every way possible to reduce no-show rates."

To support restaurants through this period of recovery, OpenTable has launched ‘Show-Up for Restaurants’ to spotlight the impact of no-shows and to encourage diners to modify or cancel their reservation when plans change. OpenTable has added new tools and features to help restaurants prevent no-shows.

  • A New Way to Tag Diners: This new tool allows restaurants to label a diner as a potential no-show based on previous reservation activity. The tool allows restaurateurs to tag the diner with a new label, so they can be proactive about confirming attendance with the diner as their reservation approaches.
  • “Four Strikes and You’re Out”: OpenTable's policy suspends diners who don't show up for a reservation four times per calendar year. This policy is in addition to a number of features that OpenTable offers to mitigate no-shows, such as email and SMS reminders, prepaid experiences, availability alerts, customizable cancellation policies, credit-card required reservations holds and more.
  • Communicate Directly with Restaurants In-App: OpenTable’s new Direct Messaging feature allows diners to communicate with restaurants before and after making a reservation, without ever having to make a phone call. Direct messaging empowers restaurants to serve up better hospitality by reducing cancellations and no-shows and building stronger connections that keep guests coming back.

As lockdown restrictions continue to lift, proof of vaccination is becoming a new safety standard that people will need to navigate. To simplify that process, OpenTable now allows restaurants to display COVID-19 vaccine requirements to diners. OpenTable is also launching a new tool that tags a diner as “Verified for Entry” once they’ve met entry requirements, such as proof of vaccination.