Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest dining days of the year where expectations are high so it’s important to set your restaurant up for success as much as possible. It’s impossible to plan for everything that can happen but there are OpenTable features that can help hosts, owners and managers create a more streamlined service. “It’s a busy holiday and we at OpenTable really do our best to try and give restaurants the best services that we can,” says Lucy Taylor, head of restaurant relations at OpenTable UK. Below, she shares 4 features that you can use to run a smooth Valentine’s Day service.
One, Adjust Dining Room Settings
One of the most used OpenTable features for Valentine’s Day is the change dining room settings feature, says Taylor. This feature allows managers to adjust the setup of the dining room to match an increased number of two tops. “We have some restaurants that even open up their private dining spaces and incorporate those extra tables into their dining room seating,” Taylor adds. The benefits are two -fold: one, it allows your hosts and managers to better plan out the night and two, it prevents guests from making large party reservations. “It’s really seamless and it prevents guests from reserving a four top or something,” she says. This feature can also be used for multiple days so restaurants running special Valentine’s Day menus all week can use the same dining room setup to maximise sales.
Two, go over guest notes for every table
Guests notes are a crucial part of any meal service but on Valentine’s Day night, they’re incredibly important and can make the difference between a great experience and a bad experience. “You really have to make sure dinner is flawless and on Valentine’s Day you want to make sure you’re paying attention to the notes just in case someone requested a specific wine, flowers on the table” she continues. Before service, go over the guests notes in detail with front of the house staff so everyone is on the same page.
Three, adjust pacing limits/timers as the night goes on
The timer feature that helps hosts know which tables are close to being done and can be turned soon is an important feature on a busy night. On Valentine’s Day, this feature should be monitored because turn times may be a little different, especially if you’re offering a prix fixe or tasting menu. “It’s actually really easy to change the settings on the system so you can anticipate turn times better,” Taylor says. Prior to dinner service, managers can adjust the settings in the system.
Finally, have hosts make notes about guests that joined you for the holiday
Make sure every guest that dined with you that night gets a Valentine’s Day note added to their diner profile. This will let you know who to target for upcoming special events and holiday dinners. You can also add notes about their favourite drinks or wine to help personalise their next meal at your restaurant. If you did everything right and they enjoyed themselves on Valentine’s Day, they’ll be happy to return for another holiday meal or may even become a regular.