Running a Restaurant/Wait Times

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Question
Hi Jeffrey, I manage a small family owned restaurant on the river in Florida. We have a very small kitchen but a very large area of seating. At times I go on a wait list even though only 30% of the restaurant is full. Customers do not understand this, all they see is open tables. My kitchen can accommodate 12-15 min ticket times only if given 1 ticket every 4-6 min. I tried seating guests  and allowing drinks only and 5-10 min wait time B4 ordering, it did not work well. The next day I tried the wait and got bad reviews bc of open seating. I am working with the kitchen to reduce ticket times but sending 6-10 tickets per 10 min only seems to slow the kitchen but if I'm not seating patrons when there are open tables they are leaving. We do offer indoor seating, covered deck seating, waterfront deck seating as well as 14 picnic tables waterside. Our kitchen was designed to serve only our indoor and covered seating. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Answer
Hi Laura, Sorry for the wait (no pun intended) in getting back to you, I've been out for health reasons.

The solution is to obviously, increase production. You can't do this from your existing space unless you can cannibalize some of your other area or build-out where it is. You have success with your model, you just need to expand upon what you do. Without knowing more specifics that's the best I can do for now. If you tell me more, we can dig deeper.

Running a Restaurant

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Jeffrey Summers

Expertise

I am the Founder & Owner of Summers Hospitality Group. We have over 300 years of successful experience in operating and consulting with chain, franchise and independent restaurant & hotel operators around the world. Check us out on the web for more information at http://SummersHospitality.Group or call us toll free at 888-998-8744.

Experience

We have experience on any topic related to the restaurant & hospitality industry - from Menu R&D, Menu Engineering, Marketing Strategies, New Store Openings, P&L Analysis, Lease Negotiations, Staffing, Policies & Procedures, Building & Design, Site Location, Branding, PR & Promotions, Multi-Unit Development, and any other area effecting the operation of your business.

Organizations
The National Restaurant Association. The Society of Hospitality Management. The Gerson Lehrman Leisure & Lodging Council The Professional Business Coaches Alliance The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education Several state restaurant & hotel associations.

Publications
My articles and opinion pieces have been featured on several industry websites, magazines, blogs and forums including: Money Magazine Wall Street Journal USA Today RestaurantOwner.com RestaurantEdge.com FoodService.com Ezinearticles.com Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine American Express' Briefing Newsletter Nation's Restaurant News and tons more!

Education/Credentials
I hold degrees in Economics, English, Culinary Arts and industry certifications in Hospitality Management and Restaurant & Catering Management.

Past/Present Clients
Here's a list of some of the brands we have worked with: Hardee's, Marriott, Hilton, Connie's Pizza, Burger King, Chili's, Long John Silver's, Bar Louie's, The Purple Sage Bistro, Applebee's, Shoney's, T.G.I. Friday's, La Dolce Vita Pastries & Catering, 5 Seasons Sports Clubs..and many more.

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