Your guest seating strategy is crucial to many aspects of your business. It can affect the guest experience, staff productivity and even profitability of your restaurant. Learn how to optimize your seating and table turn for the best experience possible.
If the average dining time could be reduced to 50 minutes, the potential revenue could increase by 20%. ~Cornell University Study
You're not the only one who likes to see full-capacity. Guests like it too!
Many people don't mind waiting for a great dining experience. In fact, the wait can even build anticipation and excitement. However, they won't stick around if the wait is uncomfortable.
When planning your restaurant seating, don't forget to accommodate the crowd waiting in line. Consider the wait, and use a smart waitlist app or a restaurant paging system so guests can feel free to roam around and order drinks while they wait for their table.
People are willing to wait for a table as long as the experience is pleasant.
- Clear Access To Host Stand
When a guest enters a busy restaurant they should have a clear path to the host stand. In fact, as they open the restaurant door, the host stand should be a pilar beckoning them in with a smiling host.
- The Placement of the Bar
If you can, place the host stand and waiting area near the bar. This will allow guests to order drinks and get comfortable while they wait, all while increasing your restaurant's revenue.
- Lobby Benches
Don't make people stand. Cushy benches placed on the side of the walls work well for restaurant waiting areas (just make sure it doesn't look like people are in line at the DMV.) Depending on the size of your restaurant, you may even have some nooks and crannies to put lounge furniture in your lobby —hopefully near the bar.
How A Smart Seating Strategy Helps Your Restaurant's Profit
It's important to consider how the speed of seating guests and table turn affects your bottom line.
A diverse table mix can increase revenue up to 35% without increasing customers’ waiting time.
- Ease of Flow
A critical element of a restaurant’s seating design is it's operations. How do guests arrive at the restaurant? What route does the food take from the kitchen to the guest's table? How many servers are covering the space? Studying the operational layout so that things work seamlessly is important so the restaurant runs as a well-oiled machine.
- Table Mix
An improved table mix can increase revenue potential by up to 35 percent without an increase in customers’ waiting time. Changing the table mix each night (as needed) in a busy restaurant can increase revenue by 1.2 percent.
Be familiar with the laws of restaurant capacity. As for your bottom line, here is a helpful resource for calculating your financial projection for the 4 restaurant styles.