Oops, haven’t posted for a while. Had a busy few weeks during the school hols and have been pursuing a few projects. All shall be revealed soon! However, good news, the staff situation seems to have been resolved and business has been ticking over steadily. So we have two part timers doing 3 days each. I actually think this is a great system, having worked with this for several weeks. It IS rather full-on full time – we are so used to it, that I think we don’t notice anymore. But at least we don’t wear anyone out! Also, if one is sick the other can cover etc. It actually give us a bit more flexibility. So bring on the season!
We are setting a few new policies. We have been getting numerous enquiries for big groups. We were saying that we would do up to 20 in one go- tops, and we can’t actually do one big table of 20, but about 3 tables, because of the shape of the dining room and the terrace. However, we have now refined that policy to a max of 12. We are declaring ourselves officially uninterested in groups. We had a bit of an experience with a group of 17 that booked a few weeks ago, where we refused plenty of other tables because we had accepted a group, we couldn’t fit everyone who wanted to come in. And in the event there were loads of kids who hardly ate anything (and ran EVERYWHERE, driving us nuts), and the adults only had one course and hardly drank any wine. It certainly seems that groups are very budget conscious and that since we’re not trying to fill up a huge dining room, it is actually better business sense to stick to smaller tables with better budgets. Big groups really gum me up in the kitchen as well – if a table of 2 or 4 come in after the group they end up having to wait while I get 17 or whatever number it is starters and mains out all at the same time.
We are also deliberating about another policy to do with reservations taken from local chambre d’hotes (b&b’s). We get a lot of customers sent by local b&bs and have a great relationship with them. However we had this problem last summer and are already having a problem this year and we are not even in full season yet. The problem is that the b&b owners have been asked to book a table for their guests – and then the guests don’t show up. This has happened twice in the last 2 weeks already. It may not sound such a big deal, but when your as small as we are, we have to plan our reservations and seating very precisely – particularly at busy periods. If a reservation doesn’t bother to show up, then it impacts negatively on our turnover. It’s actually bad for business and annoying if, as we do, turn down other reservations.
So we have decided to ask the b&b owners to give their guests our phone number and phone us directly. That way, they have had a personal contact with us, and we also have their phone number, so can phone them to find out where they are. Of-course, it’s finding a way to put the request tactfully that is the challenge – any suggestions anyone!!