4 Ways to Improve Hosting: Large Reservations

Reservations are the name of the game in the restaurant industry. It takes a balance of time, skill and co-operation to pull them off. Here are a few tricks you can use to improve your service for large parties.


1. Communication

I’ve been told many times, during the course of my career in the foodservice industry, that there’s no such thing as too much communication in a restaurant. It couldn’t be more true.

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It’s important that all members on the team, know what role they’re responsible for. Boston Pizza’s training sums it up best when they say:

“Aces in their places”

Each member must know what contribution they need to make to reach the goal of a successful service. Maintain communication with the members of the kitchen so they know what to expect.


2. Timing

Timing in a restaurant is everything.

Slow the service of the party by offering samples of drinks and romancing menu items. This gives you an opportunity to chat them up and make them feel welcome. Allowing time for them to enjoy themselves and engage in conversation promotes a great guest experience.

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Be in charge of your table, let them know ahead of time when you will be over to take their drink, appetizer,  main, dessert and tea / coffee orders. This takes the guess work out and gets people thinking about ordering, so you spend less time taking them. If guests are prepared to take the full order, send them in courses.

Ensure that the orders are staggered when being sent to the kitchen, for best results.

This 2 minute gap between each service allows time for the kitchen to keep up and sending courses ahead of time grants them some valuable prep time.

Don’t forget about your other guests! Maintain a good flow, making sure to push covers of 4 or less, before the party’s orders. No one else should have a less than perfect experience due to a large reservation.

Remember not to over commit, allow room for walk-ins. Only reserve a third of the total seating capacity and ensure to stagger start times.


3. Pre Orders

The idea of pre-ordering the food can seem like a hassle at first, but it is the most organized way to ensure service for large parties can be delivered in a timely fashion.

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On nights you expect to be busy, it is imperative you use every minute to your advantage.

Tailor your menu options to create condensed menus, comprised of best sellers or items that have quick pick up times. You could also feature items that are not selling, giving you a chance to move inventory.


4. ‘Wow’ Factor

The ‘Wow’ service is attained by surpassing the guests expectations.

Going the extra mile fosters an unforgettable experience, one that will create repeat business.

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Naming bills is a great feature of many P.O.S systems that personalizes your service. Use this to your advantage when taking orders for your party. Simply ask, “May I have a name for the order?”

This will not only serve to keep you more organized, but also anyone who comes in contact with the table, will be privy to this information.

So many places auction food when table-side and this is a simple and easy way to differentiate from other services the guest has had before.

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