The most desirable time for diners is always around 7 PM. The restaurant gets really crowded, and the workload high and tense. However, before and after 7 PM, some of the tables often stand empty.
Empty Tables During Our Off-Peak Hours
- Most of our customers wanted to start their dinner service at 7 PM, so we were only managing to average one or one and a half turns per table, each evening. This was very ineffective for our restaurant size and pricing level.
- We also found that we often had gaps between bookings, which resulted in a loss of around 30 covers per day. Since we couldn’t accept bookings for just 30 minutes or one hour, these tables were left standing empty, and revenue was lost.
- Our small kitchen had a huge and stressful workload from the majority of diners coming in at 7 PM, with a huge amount of orders flowing in shortly afterwards. If guests had special requests then there would be a risk that mistakes would be made due to the rush always working against us.
- On top of all this, we found it very difficult to manage reservation times, and make changes to bookings on our paper system.
Reservation System with Built-In Time Templates to Promote Better Table Turnover
Using the Tablein system and integrating its “time templates” into our reservation process was not only easy and convenient, but also very profitable! We tried to schedule reservation times to get at least two to three table turns per evening and have had great success since the change.
Huge Increase in the Number of Table Turns
- The results we achieved blew us away with our cover capacity increasing by approximately 50%.
- We made slight adjustments to our reservation times and had our reservation times set to specific times during peak hours to eliminate gaps between reservations. We now don’t have any gaps in service which saves us another 20 or so covers per day.
- From now on we have a limited number of seats for our 7 PM reservations. However, we welcome further guests to our restaurant at other times such as 6:30 PM, 6:45 PM, 7:15 PM or 7:30 PM. These 15 mins or half an hour for our visiting customers don’t really make a difference but for our restaurant the extra time makes a massive difference. We can now guarantee a much smoother service as the workload is staggered. This has been really great for business and our team.
- Everyone is a lot less stressed and happier. Our kitchen load became more spread out so our kitchen staff aren’t overworked. Also we don’t need to hire extra staff for both the kitchen and the dining area at busy hours. So we’re even saving on staff costs!
- We also introduced fixed times for each reservation (from 1.5 to 2.5 hours), which allows us to manage our customers expectations when it comes to time spent in our restaurant, and increase the number of table turns.
Top Tips by Seelenbrüder
- When adding reservation times, try to set them so that you can achieve more covers, and so that it still allows clients booking flexibility (for example, 6 PM, 6:30 PM and 7 PM, instead of just 5 PM and 7 PM).
- Consider setting a fixed time for each reservation for no longer than 2,5 hours.
- Never leave any gaps in between bookings, even if it’s just for 15 minutes or so.
- Utilise full daytime optimisations, for all days.