Just finished a really busy saturday night, fifty covers which is a new record I think for a regular service. As part of a new strategy to maximise our covers and obviously the revenue too, we are now starting service at 6:30pm Fridays and Saturdays with the proviso that you vacate your table by 8:30 so we can reset it for the last sitting. Cards on the table time, I dont like this idea/practice, because unfortunately the majority of customers are very casual about their timekeeping. Now this is mostly for selfish reasons - namely they want a table at 8pm. We have no more tables at 8pm, but we can give them a table at 7pm. They agree to this, knowing full well that they will just walk in at 8pm when they wish to dine. And for us, the really frustrating thing is that we bend over and accept the situation, despite the fact it puts the kitchen right in the brown stuff, and if they are in the weeds, then we are the ones that face the irate customers. This is where the good restaurant managers come into their own, balancing the table flow into the dining room, and orchestrating the service to keep the kitchen just dipping their toes into shit creek. And weve got a good one in Paco. So tonight we found ourselves with seven tables booked between 6:30 and 7:30, which is a running start to the evening. This afternoon we were staring the wrong side of five resits, but the gods must like us, because this dropped to two by the start of service.
Our perfect guests were the four top booked at 6:30pm. This was their second night, and they were here on time. Lovely couple and their son and his girlfriend. They appreciate their meal, they like good wines which happened to be expensive (fulfilling my obligations to the budget!!), but most of all they appreciate us and the service. They say please and thank you, they are pleasant to talk with, they smile!!!!! You have no idea what a difference that can make on a Saturday night. These are the kind of guests that will always get a table in a restaurant. Not because they spend well, although the truth is that helps, but because they are thoroughly nice people who appreciate the effort you would go to in order to accomodate them. Luckily for us, we have quite a few guests like that, and we often make sacrifices in order to get them a table, even when we are full, because the experience of serving them and being appreciated for it, makes all the rest of the tables that much easier. Now if only all the rest of the tables were like that.