There are many factors that can have an impact on restaurant sales. While many restaurateurs invest thousands upon thousands of dollars on advertisement and promotions, there are more affordable alternatives. Table configurations can be the driving force that potentially increases revenue depending on which structure you are using. Studies show and confirm that positioning the right sized restaurant tables with other tables to accommodate large parties can indeed yield additional profits at virtually no cost.
The use of tables at a restaurant constitutes a broader issue of optimizing seating capacity - that is finding the right restaurant table size to seat as many people as possible. By extension, optimizing capacity is using the tables you already have in a way that can maximize profitability. Seating capacity can also be approached from the perspective of finding the most affordable way of delivering exceptional customer service you can provide. In a restaurant environment specifically, specifying on your seating arrangements means structuring your layout in a way that allows you to maximize your revenue. In respect to table configurations, optimizing restaurant seating capacity literally is designing your restaurant layout that is allocated to restaurant tables allowing you to capitalize in sales.
Height, customer size, seat numbers and areas between restaurant tables are important considerations to make when determining the correct table size for your facility. Most commercial tables are made to standard measurements as is most furniture. While styles may vary, you will find that there is very little difference in table height. While industry standards can be used as a frame of reference for recommendations and guidelines, you should measure your dining room before you make any purchases. You should also note that dimensions can slightly fluctuate from manufacturer to manufacturer and therefore you shouldn’t assume that all tables that seat 6 people, for example, are the same size. Two inches can make a big difference, especially if you are furnishing a smaller dining space.
Restaurant table height plays an important role in your decision making. As a general rule, you must carefully choose restaurant tables at their correct height. The standard height for a restaurant table measures as 650mm - anything below 750mm is categorized as bar height and bar height tables are seen as too casual for fine dining settings. To function properly, the table needs to be high enough to ensure adequate clearance space above the knees of the patrons. A table that is too high or low will make it difficult for customers to dine comfortably. Most dining tables measure between 28” to 30” high from the floor to the table surface for that purpose. Purchasing and arranging the right table can potentially increase sales.
A recent study from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration supervised by Prof. Gary Thompson reveals the midsize restaurants affiliated with chains that serve large parties of customers generate the most revenues, especially with dedicated tables. These tables in particular are specifically built for a variety of party sizes in contrast to flexible two-seaters pushed together for form larger restaurant tables. The study further demonstrates that midsize restaurants with combinable tables force large parties of guests to wait until many small tables are pushed together to form a singular large table to seat them. "Placing small tables on hold awaiting the departure of parties from adjacent tables actually lowers the restaurants' space utilization more than having an empty seat or two at the dedicated tables." Thompson states. He also discovered that small independent restaurants that only attract smaller crowds with small combinable tables do a lot better.
To draw accurate results, Thompson developed a sophisticated computer model, Tabelmix, using the data from an actual full-service restaurant that simulates how customers use tables. The model also helps users search for the best restaurant table configuration as well as evaluate a specific configuration. In duration of his study, Thompson observed that there were over 8,000 tables for a 200 seat restaurant. He and his colleagues are still adjusting this measuring tool to determine the best performing restaurant tables of the various types at midsize restaurants.
In conjunction with optimizing seating capacity for increased revenue and customer satisfaction, many restaurants have a table management system in place. Unfortunately the current method they rely on is obsolete. If you have ever walked into a restaurant during peak hours, you may notice guests looking at empty tables while queuing at the host stand. Hosts are bombarded with angry demands from guests and bitter complaints from servers. The kitchen is backed up and even perhaps understaffed. Orders are full of mistakes. Beleaguered managers are trying with very little success to make everyone happy. Chaos reigns over lack of efficiency as profits begin to plummet resulting in a complete disaster. Sadly, restaurants using single-point waitlist methods or assigning tables with greased pencils and layouts are all too familiar with this scenario.
In more cases than others, restaurant owners erroneously think of technology in terms of addressing and resolving a specific issue – instead of viewing it as an integrated system engineered towards creating better customer experience. By using and integrating restaurant technology into your restaurant table management system, you will be able to improve and guarantee efficiency for both customers and staff; ensuring smooth guest flow and earn superior customer satisfaction scores that drive more foot traffic and even repeat visits.