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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Musical Tables

Anyone working in a major Pub Group will know the importance of maximizing seating capacity at busy times.

Many managers will spot a couple sat at a table with four chairs and spring into action. The dynamic skills of some managers really does impress. I recently witnessed a 'Marstons' manager make a show of himself, and his pub. Within just minutes of a couple taking their seats (at a table with 4 spaces) the manager hurled himself across the floorspace and pounced upon his prey. It was like something out of a BBC wildlife documentary. His victims never stood a chance. After moving the hapless customers to a table with two - count them ....TWO - seats, the manager watched over his restaurant floor, master of all he surveys, filled with pride, knowing that once more he has restored order to the chaos that we call the service industry.

...Just Stop it now.

What are these managers afraid of?

It can't be that they are worried they will lose sales, as what they have just done will DEFINITELY result in a LOSS. I have seen this far too often when working at Pub venues across the country. And I get to hear the customers' conversations once the manager has left their table too.

If managers want to maximize seatings they have only these choices....

A - Erect a stand or sign stating 'Please wait here to be seated'

B - Erect a stand or sign stating 'Please wait here to be seated'


If customers are asked to wait to be seated then it is easy for the waiter to guide them to an appropriate table between waiting on. No problem.

IF managers DO NOT do this then under no circumstances should they ask a customer to move once they have seated.

BECAUSE if the pub is full, and customers arriving have no where to sit since the tables haven't been managed properly, then these customers will just aim to arrive earlier next time. Or maybe even try the venue on a different day. However, if the camp guard... I mean manager... makes customers move once they have seated, then the offended parties will quite probably never return. What they might do of course is leave a negative review on the internet.

So forget what the Pub Companies say in their training materials. I have a better system. Either Manage the tables, or don't. But don't manage after the fact. The customer will not appreciate being herded.

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