The Tsunami Effect of Very Large Groups on Hospitality Venues
When very large groups of people descend unannounced on hospitality venues it can be a challenging time. Unless the venue has rostered for a busy day based on their historic patterns, staffing levels will be below what the restaurant manager would consider adequate to handle the volume in a way that best represents the brand; translate that to provides the customer with the appropriate brand experience. Even if staffing levels are high, in anticipation of a regular busy lunch or dinner service, when the guest count swells to double what is expected, staff and resources can be stretched.
There are two sides to this scenario. The first is what the venue can do to prepare for this contingency. The second is what the organiser or initiator of the group can do to prepare the venue for the contingency; of the two the latter is the least considered and overlooked.
Let’s look at the venue first. Being prepared for situations like this is a matter of training, teamwork, and identifying and utilising to the maximum benefit the unique talents and abilities of each staff member. Ok, so that all would be helpful any time of day or night. True. It is especially helpful too when you find yourself in a situation that could be viewed by less capable people as WWIII ( as in world war three). So it’s also about keeping the vibrational energy of the staff and venue high
I wrote an article a while ago about how firefighters are able to run into burning buildings together with firemen from other stations and everyone knows instinctively what to do. There are probably very few if any other jobs where the potential for danger, risk and stress are so high as a standard and this is met head on with training. Few in business train for extreme situations and hospitality is no different. My advice to restaurant owners is train your people to deal with potentially high-stress situation so that they are both stress-free for the employee and the guest notices nothing, except perhaps how well everything runs.
One shining example of a venue that excels in handling busy situations is The Yellow Deli, in Katoomba up in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. The restaurant can be full, the guests waiting for a table can be packed inside and lined up out the door and around the corner, and even a bus full of tourists could pull up outside the door, yet the staff and management remain calm, focused, friendly, effective and efficient. They give you the feeling that you are being looked after and you are. They bring the food fast and the quality of both food and service remains high; and somehow even though as a guest seated enjoying your meal you never feel rushed, if you are waiting for a table the wait always feels reasonable and short.
How well would your venue serve clientele when your lunch trade swells to more than double the expected trade? … and what are you doing to give your staff the skills, tools and training to continue to deliver your quality brand experience in these times?
Lastly, if you are organising a large group, post/pre dinner, post/pre theatre, pub crawl, whatever, unless the idea comes to you as you are standing with the throng in another venue to migrate and you blood alcohol level is beyond biologically plausible to sustain life rather than permanently suspend it, consider caling the venue (well … at least 24 hours) in advance and warning them that you are going to descend upon them for (whatever) period of time.