If you’re in the restaurant industry, you know these days are all about efficiency. You need to get as many diners in and away from their tables as possible without a hitch.
Look at your tables as well-planned events and you can increase profits substantially. Ticketing your tables as events allows you to slot out times diners will be seated and served.
You can also determine:
- How many heads to expect
- What they want to eat and drink
- A specific refund policy to eliminate costly no-shows
Don’t do all of your tables at once. Start with one section, so the rest of your staff can operate as they normally would and you don’t have to reorganize everything. Select your strongest servers for the ticketed tables and make sure they are good clock-watchers.
Inform the kitchen of the time-sensitive aspect of turning these tables and see if you can work with the chef to prioritize those.
1. Create Your Event Page
Once you have your team excited and on board, it’s time to set up your event page. There are lots of ways that you can customize your Brown Paper Tickets event page, however, simple and clean always works best. If you set it up in a way that’s too complicated, the page will confuse potential customers.
2. Set Up Specific Table Sizes
You don’t want to discourage larger groups, but set your floor in advance and have a clear section created. Even if you create a clear section, you can still make it flexible.
For example, if you are hosting a Mother’s Day brunch and want to keep things fluid, create a variety of various-sized tables as options. If you get a special request, you can always direct them to the general seating portion of your restaurant.
3. Develop a Pre-Fixe Menu
Develop a pre-fixe menu with a few options for each course, and include a dessert, such as chocolate-covered strawberries or mousse. Make the dishes simple to modify (diners will want to modify them) and to help the kitchen out with the volume, be clear there is no splitting.
4. Have a Few Pre-Selected Wine Options
Make sure they are good options and that you have plenty. The price point should be reasonable, since you are charging more for the pre-fixe and other aspects of the service. Emphasize the time slot ending to your servers so they can manage lingering slow pokes.
If you allot the proper amount of time based on your service style, it should work out well. Don’t make anyone wait more than a minute or two to be seated.
5. Set Clear Policies
Set up clear policies for lateness, no-shows, cancellations, and up charges.
This way your staff and customers are all on the same page. In my opinion, gratuity should be separate and up to the customer, but speak to your team and find out what works best.
You can always add the gratuity to the registration price on Brown Paper Tickets and cash your servers out later.
The refund policy language should relay the worst-case scenario such as, “absolutely no refunds.” You can still have mercy and refund someone, but this phrase covers your bases in case of a blatant no-show.
6. Check Local Calendars for Events
If there is a play, musical, or other event, use the show times to set your schedule. For example, if the first showing is at 6:45, your first time slot should end around 6:15, thus giving your customers enough time to get to the show. You can reach out to the theaters and offer to cross promote as well, maybe even bundle the show tickets with your meal to create a “dinner and a show” price level.
7. Keep It Fun and Stay Positive
Special nights are slammin’ busy. Keep your staff happy and it will transfer to guests. Buy your helpers some chocolate or prepare a staff meal, and project the good vibes yourself. Keeping the energy level and morale up will pay off when your customers leave happy and on-time. There is no substitute for genuine positivity–it is the heart and soul of good service.
8. Remember, Scoop and Serve is Your Friend
Ask servers to scoop ice cream, ladle soup, garnish desserts, plate chocolate-covered strawberries, and perform other tasks to help them control the flow of their sections. This also takes pressure off of the kitchen staff, which is always a good idea. Provide a little training for your service staff, and watch in wonderment when they are garnishing beautifully presented dishes for your guests.
9. Leave a Lasting Impression
Ticketing your tables is not just a good way to increase efficiency during a special event date. If you can really pull it off and make a lasting impression, your guests will come back.
Every aspect of the restaurant is pushed to perform at its peak to provide the optimal event experience. Keep the expectations realistic and stay true to your goals, the organization and pre-planning will do the rest.
10. Test All Your Options
When planning your big night, it’s important to account for every possible issue that may arise. Ensure that the set-up is right for your restaurant’s flow and service style. Try a soft opening or trial run before the big day—that way, you can gather feedback and make adjustments ahead of time.
Have questions, tips or thoughts? Comment below. Or email me and I’ll help you you get started.