Planning ahead is essential in the smooth running of any restaurant but it often involves a lot of guesswork as you don’t know what guests are going to order before they arrive. Being able to gather information about guest’s preferences before they arrive has been a lifeline for many restaurants that use the Tablein service.
Before we had the opportunity to find out about our guest’s preferences for menu choices, we were constantly facing unnecessary difficulties in management for resource and team planning, which would ultimately affect our guest services.
Complications in Planning Ahead
- Dinners with a choice of tasting menu are extremely trendy in our restaurant. The exact list of dishes on the menu is dynamic, depending on seasonality and the creative ideas of our professional chef Artūras Naidenko. To create a constantly changing, fresh and exciting experience each time, we don’t set the exact dishes in advance. However, we must pay attention to special requests and adapt the menu accordingly (e.g. intolerances, allergies). It was messy and time-consuming to write everything down on the pages of our journal and their was always a risk that mistakes could be made.
- The tasting menu, which is not only prepared but also introduced to guests by the chef himself, is available solely with a reservation. We often found that many guests were unaware of the reservation process so they would turn up on the night, only to be disappointed and presented with an à la carte menu to choose from. An unhappy occasion for the guests and for us as we would often be unable to accommodate them last minute.
- We were unable to predict the guest flow for the evening ahead which resulted in difficult organization of the staff timesheet. The situation in the kitchen would become especially tense when the restaurant was fully booked and all the guests were sharing different picks both from the tasting menu and à la carte.
Collecting More Information About our Guests Through an Online Reservation Service
We constantly observe the practice of restaurants at home and abroad with the aim of bettering ourselves when it comes to our food, quality, and the service we provide. It didn’t take us long to understand that we urgently needed an online reservation tool, which would simplify our internal processes massively. We especially wanted functionality that allowed us to get as much information as possible about the guests (and their expectations) before they arrive. All of our requirements were fulfilled by Tablein and we soon integrated their system for the management of our restaurant reservations.
Much Smoother Advance Preparation and a Better Teamwork Experience Throughout our Restaurant
- 100% of all reservations in our restaurant are now carried out online via the Tablein system. This tool allows us to foresee the restaurant flow and know which menu each guest is choosing.
- By using extensive Tablein functions, we now ask our guests to fill in a bit more information online when they book. We offer the option of selecting not only the date, time, and number of people for their booking, but also a choice of our menus is presented too (brunch, à la carte, 4-course tasting menu or 6-course tasting menu). To make it clear for our guests, we’ve uploaded the menu cards for each pick so they can see what each menu involves. On top of this, we ask if our guests will be interested in the wine pairing that we offer. Now, the intentions of our guests are known in advance, and we can prepare for them to our best abilities.
- A significant field in the table reservation form for us is the one that takes details of any special requests (vegetarian/vegan or food allergies). If it is filled out ahead of time then we can quickly and flexibly adapt our regular offers to the preferences provided (e.g., prepare a vegetarian tasting menu or a dish without an ingredient that causes an allergic reaction).
- It is essential to us that all of the information about our guests, and their reservation, is displayed to us in an organised and clear fashion. Now we can entirely avoid mistakes of the past that were caused by illegible handwriting or confused notes across our booking pages (especially when we have a large group of people and every guest has a different request!).
- Easy online reservations are not only appealing to our guests but have become extremely important for our restaurant. These days we are able to know the flow ahead of time, and prepare for it by optimising our resources. We can organise our kitchen and dining hall staff according to need and stock our kitchen with the optimal amount of ingredients leading to less wastage.
Top Tip by Uoksas
- Tablein system offers many beneficial functions and we strongly suggest utilising the ones that are most suitable for your restaurant, as much as you can! After implementing these features, accepting reservations, serving guests, and organizing the work in the kitchen, will become smoother than you ever knew possible.