For many, the idea of eating at the bar is a last option. The rest of
the restaurant is full, and they still want to get a meal before they continue
with their day. However, you can use those empty bar tables to provide more
than a quickly grabbed snack. Here is how.
First Come, First Served
One of the greatest attractions of the bar area is that it doesn’t get counted in
the wait list you create for guests waiting for a table. As long as people are
willing to eat at a higher, smaller table, or at the bar itself, there is
usually no wait. When time is of the essence, this is a real perk.
Other people will appreciate the fact that there are no children
allowed in the bar area. Guests who want a quieter meal, without the added
attraction of babies crying or children screaming, will see the merits
immediately. Post the bar dining policies up front, and talk to your staff
about offering the option consistently to couples and singles. This will up
your traffic in the area.
Make it Friendly
Most bars aren’t really set up for long dining experiences. They
are designed to provide a drink and a few snacks before diners either head back
out or off to the dining room. If you want the idea of a Dining Bar to take off
in your restaurant, you need make the bar a place people want to stay.
Turn the music down a bit. Train your staff in making recommendations,
so they know how to pair drinks with dishes. Invest in the right furniture.
Restaurant Dining Furniture
What you really want is restaurant style dining furniture that is
designed for the bar. This means placing comfortable booths, or perhaps tables
and comfortable chairs, around the perimeter. Upholstered seats are much more
user-friendly, and incline the diner to remain for a while. The same seats can
be placed around the bar itself, making the whole area attractive. That will
have the added benefit of encouraging diners to consider the bar as a viable
alternative to the dining room.
With the chairs taken care of you can turn to the tables. Unlike
typical bar tables, only large enough for a few drinks and maybe a plate of
appetizers, invest in bigger tops. You want room for a couple of glasses, at
least two full sized plates and all the accessories needed for a meal. The only
way to make sure it works is to set things up and make the evaluation, so take
the time to do so.
Your tables and chairs are in place, and your staff is ready to
encourage people to move to the dining bar, all you have left to do is create
that welcoming atmosphere. The specifics will depend entirely on what you have
going on in the rest of your restaurant. Try to carry your theme into the bar
as well, so that those diners feel they are getting a similar experience, while
enjoying the faster pace.