Restaurant table reservation is an art! A profitable one! And too often handled badly!
Taking Restaurant reservations is an art. How many restaurant hostesses refuse a reservation because all tables are booked? Many! Too many! --- they don’t know better!
Only the book looks good
All tables booked. Eight tables already at 6 pm then a lot coming at 7 pm - some at 8 pm and a few late comers by 9 pm and 9:30 pm. All tables booked. The book looks great! We are full!
Actually one third of our restaurant is empty! You look good in the books! In reality - You do not perform at all! You damage the restaurant, the company you are working for. Mostly because you are not experienced or follow SOPs that were written by someone who never worked the floor.
Its not you fault if you are the hostess or the one who has to take the reservation. It’s the owners and managing company’s fault who saved at the wrong end again.
Great staff makes the difference
An experienced Maitre’D in a 5 star hotel I worked with always had the restaurant ( 130 seats) fully booked with local residents. Every day of the week! With 150 guest in house I was always amazed how he managed to get everybody in. The house guest didn’t reserve a table as they are used that most hotel restaurants are anyway half empty, right?. The locals walked often in without reservation – they were frequent customers, right? This restaurant was always full.
The Maitre just looked at the Hotel guest list every day knowing that the restaurant was already fully booked with local residents. Crossed out the house guest he knew would not come. Marked the ones that may come and at what time ( he knew them all) And highlighted the ones that would come for sure and he knew he need a table and which table they liked. As the restaurant was fully booked he knew which locals came when and how long they would stay. He got everybody in. And happy! Getting the right table, getting the attention, being remembered. We topped 200 covers in a 5 star hotel most day’s. I wont forget. I was dead in the evening. But I learned a lot.
It takes a lot. You need to manage and read guest, know your frequent customers, organize the re set of tables and motivate your staff. It takes a Pro!