Accommodating a big group of diners is challenging for restaurants. The expectation of the guests is the same as if they were dining in a small group, but large groups require unique needs. Disappointing a big group can hurt business – think of all the poor Yelp reviews! – so finding ways to properly service them should be a priority for restaurants.
Here are five ways restaurants can better accommodate large parties:
1. Keep it cozy – Large parties tend to be loud and can bother other guests. While offering a more intimate setting is a good idea, you don’t want them to feel like they are dining in a closet either. Creating a space that is private without being claustrophobic is ideal. If you don’t have a room that provides privacy, get creative with the décor by using room partitions such as hanging linens or other furniture.
2. Check please – Nothing tarnishes a great meal with friends or family more than dealing with splitting the check. Save the group a headache by determining how the party wants the bill split before the ordering starts. Have the host/hostess ask the guest how they would like this handled when they make the reservation.
3. What’s the occasion – This starts with the reservation. Understanding why the group is gathering can make serving them appropriately much easier. For example, if it is a child’s birthday party, the table can be set with booster seats or high chairs ahead of time.
4. Go with the flow – Be flexible with how many people actually show up versus how many people were on the reservation. Large parties tend to add or subtract attendees at the last minute so having staffers prepared to add or remove chairs should be simple.
5. Huddle up – Making sure the staff is prepared to accommodate a large party is also crucial to meeting the group’s needs. The kitchen has to be prepared to handle a large ticket without sacrificing other diners’ experience. The bartenders should also be prepared to get a large number of drinks ready at one time if the group is of age.
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