High occupancy, high expectations. What is the best way to handle group reservations so that the cash register is right and the guests are satisfied?
Christmas time. Dinner for One on TV. Dinner for Groups in the restaurant. Guests come in crowds and at the same time - and this, when the Christmas season is supposed to be contemplative, a warm and relaxed atmosphere part of the offer.
The 5 most important tips to make this a success and keep the cash register ringing.
1. Group requests: Standards instead Specials
But in the group, that's not the point either. What is required is a compromise and an appropriate selection of dishes that can be prepared in the highest quality for larger groups and also meet the basic needs of the guests. Meaning: meat, veggie or vegan as well as the consideration of food intolerances.
For banquets, therefore, standardised menu suggestions should be presented for selection rather than simply the menu, including general terms and conditions such as deadlines for definitive confirmations. This alone significantly reduces the time spent on e-mails and telephone calls.
The Wöschi restaurant in Zurich is a good example of how this can be done.
2. Promotion: Online
You can only reach more guests if you show the banquet offer online on various channels, e.g. via website, newsletter, Facebook or Instagram. This way, interested parties can get information before they contact you. This also reduces your effort considerably.
3. Group enquiries: Automation
If a standardised offer including all conditions is available online, then the group request can also be accepted and answered automatically.
With the reservation management system aleno, group requests can be automatically (definite or provisionally) accepted and automatically processed exactly according to the needs of the restaurant.
Guests receive all the information they need in a timely manner. They can thus make all decisions internally up to the deadline and then specify the exact number of menus via reservation link and later confirm or cancel the reservation. And all this without any telephone calls or individual e-mails.
Restaurants that only offer fixed menus can simplify banquet requests even further and use aleno to enter the number of menus - e.g. meat, fish, vegetarian - when making the reservation. If aleno Payments is activated, an advance payment can also be requested automatically with the reservation.
This ensures a smooth process of the banquet requests and the event itself. The advance payment also protects against the financial risk of no-shows. However, no-show fees must be clearly communicated in advance in the general terms and conditions for banquets.
4. Deadlines: The earlier, the better
Groups bring a high turnover, but also a high risk. In the event of cancellations at short notice or no commitments, the many places that become available often remain empty. A financial fiasco that can be avoided by early deadlines.
Requests should therefore be confirmed or cancelled within two weeks at the latest, but at least 5 days before the reservation date.
In aleno, you can therefore specify up to how many days before the desired banquet date group requests will be accepted. If a 5 is entered, then a group request will only be accepted online if it is made 5 days or more in advance.
5. Communication: Via the reservation system
However, it will often not be possible without personal e-mails and telephone calls. These should be exchanged from within the reservation system. The arrangements for the banquet are thus well documented and can be viewed by all employees, which guarantees a smooth process at the event and compliance with all agreements.
And then nothing stands in the way of a beautiful, relaxed celebration with smooth proceedings and no financial surprises.
Find more details here on about how to customize aleno to automate group reservations.