When everything goes right during a patron’s visit, they’re usually
only left talking about the meal they had. Unfortunately, poor table management can ruin an individual’s visit
regardless of how great everything else goes. From getting restaurant booths turned over quickly to understanding the
party-size needs in a specific location, improved table-management techniques
can make a good restaurant even better.
Staff to Get Tables Turned Over Quickly
There are methods that can help get patrons in and out quickly, but in
reality, how long someone sits in a bistro chair depends completely on the
patron. By training the hostess,
waitstaff and other employees appropriately, though, a restaurateur can ensure
that tables don’t sit empty while customers are waiting to be seated.
Many restaurants do this by having the hostess periodically walk around
the establishment to see which bar tables and restaurant booths are open. Others have their servers alert the hostess
as soon as a table opens up. There are
even eateries with a dedicated busboy who does nothing other than clear off
tables as soon as patrons leave. Do
whatever it takes to make sure open tables don’t stay open long.
While there are a variety of ways for restaurants to manually handle
their table management, there are also several technological tools available to
make this job easier. From OpenTable to
Table iQ, the number of apps and software out there to assist in table
management is immense. Every one of
these tools has their own benefits, so culinary entrepreneurs should research
which will be most beneficial to their eatery.
Location When Setting Up Front of House
Walking into a restaurant like Applebee’s shows that many restaurants
plan for all party sizes. There are
tables that can hold anywhere from one person to 15. It’s important to remember, though, that this
is a large chain eatery. Local
restaurateurs need to consider the surrounding community when purchasing
An establishment in New York City, for instance, would do well to avoid
tables or restaurant booths meant specifically to hold large parties. These will often get no use, and in the end,
this means wasted space. Fortunately,
tables can easily be pushed together, so even if a 15-top decides to come in,
they can still be easily accommodated.
Afraid to Charge No-Shows
Not every restaurant accepts reservations, but those that do have
undoubtedly run into patrons who make reservations and then never show up. This results in tables going empty and lost
revenue. Some consumers will even make concurrent
reservations at different restaurants just so they can choose where to eat at
the last minute. Restaurateurs should
never be afraid to charge a fee in these cases, but make sure patrons know
about it when reserving.
Proper table management is essential if a restaurant hopes to be
successful. This means doing more, though,
than just hoping employees clean their tables quickly and knowing which
restaurant booths are open. It requires
focused attention and a game plan, and the aforementioned tips are a great
foundation for this plan.