Helpful Restaurant Statistics and a Guide to Indoor/Outdoor Furniture

The Role of Timing in Restaurants:

A restaurant needs to have good customer service, or they’ll find themselves with empty tables!

As a restaurant owner or manager, it’s important that staff is fully trained to make sure timing is coordinated. Guests should be able to enjoy each dish (as hopefully they will order an appetizer, main dish, desserts, and after-dinner cocktails or coffee) without feeling rushed or ignored.

While timing plays a huge role throughout the entire meal, it often begins before the guests are even seated. It can be hard to forgive a restaurant failing to honor the timing of a reservation, so if the dining room is packed and the promised table isn’t available, try treating guests to a free drink while they wait.

Once guests are seated and food has been served, the timing of clearing the table must also be considered. Guests should be welcome to linger – but should not be forced to wait. The check should be placed on the table with an assurance that there is no hurry and they can stay as long as they’d like. After a nice long evening they may simply be ready to go, but if they’ve found the right place they may never want to leave!

The first impression can mean that guests return – and hopefully become regulars. On the other hand, a poorly-coordinated evening can result in that guests never coming back!

Restaurant Statistics:

    • The main goal of managing a restaurant’s revenue is to handle the facility’s capacity and customer demand in a way that maximizes profits/revenue for the restaurant.
    • A restaurant MUST have comfortable and adequate seating to ensure a positive experience for all clients.
    • Studies have shown that customers will spend more time in the restaurant when seated at a booth, as compared to being seated at a table.
    • Customers who sit at booths that are away from a window will spend even more time. Studies show the more natural light people are exposed to, the less time they will spend eating.
    • People who sit at a booth will spend an average of $56.67. People who sit at free standing tables will spend an average of $38.92. This means booth seating will net an average of $17.75 more PER PERSON! This is an average of 31% more revenue of booth seating as compared to free standing tables.
    • Contrary to popular belief, only 26.16% of independent restaurants fail during the first year of operation (belief is that this statistic is much higher).
  • Customers who carry a Chase Freedom® credit card have visited restaurants more frequently in the past two years than they have since the recession began.

Bottom line… studies show that seating style and placement have a huge impact on customers deciding where they will eat… and how much money they will spend! These factors are even more important than the quality of the actual food!

Pop-Out Seating:

A new craze is popping up in San Francisco, New York City, and recently in Westport, Connecticut. Outdoor seating for eateries on busy, narrow streets has been a roadblock for restaurant owners for many years – until now. The solution? Convert parking spaces into a street patio, or “pop-out” seating for the public with tables and chairs. According to an article in West View News written by Benny Benepe, “the pop-up has become an oasis attracting workers and residents alike.” From May to mid October, diners and pedestrians can relax and enjoy life outdoors. During the cold months the seating is stored and the street is restored to available parking spaces.

A couple of years ago in Westport, Connecticut, ten parking spaces were being transformed into outdoor seating. In New York City, the Department of Transportation (DOT) approved applications for twelve of these pop-up cafès. The cafès sit on platforms, creating a level surface between the sidewalks and seating, making the dining area handicap accessible. The number of parking spaces given to the cafès and restaurants is determined by the size of the facility. Two restaurants in New York City collaborated, and together they have a six (6) foot wide by one-hundred-twenty-five (125) foot long platform. Both restaurants were responsible for the construction costs, and since creating the extra outdoor dining space they have noticed a twenty percent increase in their sales. Since no wait service is allowed, the seating is open for public use without any commitment to buy anything from the establishment.

To keep within safety guidelines set by the DOT, the removable platform was raised to street level and a barrier separates the diners and motorists. The restaurants used concrete planters; however they could have also installed security barriers (bollards) or patio fencing. The furniture used to outfit the expanded seating areas is brought inside every evening and must be stored for the winter. Collapsible tables and folding chairs are used to outfit the expanded seating as they are space saving and light weight, making for quick and easy transportation and storage.

Safety is a major concern among diners, so pop-up cafès are generally only located on slow moving one way streets. Each application for the pop-out seating is reviewed on a case by case basis to make sure that emergency routes or access points are not obstructed. Many establishments are protecting their patrons with cement planters filled with colorful flowers or sleek guard fences so diners can use and enjoy the extra seating without worry.

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