June 1, 2023
Lauren Platero

How Restaurants for Large Groups Can Navigate Peak Season

Restaurants for large groups can be challenging to operate. But once peak season rolls around, it can be incredibly difficult to manage each shift and daily tasks. Group-friendly restaurants need strategies before the busy season is in full swing, whether it be prioritizing seasonal ingredients or changing up restaurant group reservation policies. Want to learn all about it? 

From determining peak season to ways to combat it, we're discussing everything. See below for more details:

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Restaurants for Large Groups: Key Features

Not all restaurants are built the same. While some can accommodate large groups, others regrettably cannot. Generally speaking, restaurants for large groups usually hold the following traits:

  • Ample space in the restaurant for large groups
  • Private rooms for more intimate dining experiences
  • The ability to customize or restrict the event menu
  • Extra tables, chairs, menus, linens, glassware, and silverware
  • Sufficient parking spaces outside the restaurant
  • Event management services for a complete experience 

If your restaurant doesn’t include all of the above traits, it doesn't mean that you can’t accommodate large groups. However, they’ll certainly simplify the processes when larger reservations land in your POS system.

Determine Peak Season In 3 Simple Steps

Is your restaurant so busy that you don’t know when peak season occurs? No problem! There are a few ways you can locate this time period. Use the suggestions below to begin:

  1. Check sales reports. One of the most obvious ways to determine peak season is to analyze sales trends. The more dishes sold, the more customers you’re serving–therefore, your restaurant’s peak season. 
  2. Look at consumer demographics on social media. Native social media analytics dashboards show historical data. One of the most important metrics is when your accounts gain followers. If there’s a point during the year when you experience an influx in followers, it might be a sign that peak season is near. 
  3. Find when the most loyalty accounts open. First, if you don’t offer customers a loyalty program, we highly recommend it. If you already do, is there a time when more people sign-up? If so, this might be a sign of peak season. Actually, it might signal when peak season begins, as the customers know they’ll be using it frequently. 

Once you determine when peak season exists in your restaurant, it’s time to manage it efficiently. When it comes to restaurants for large groups, we think the tips below will be quite valuable!

9 Ways the Best Restaurants for Large Groups Can Navigate Peak Season

It can be difficult for restaurants of all sizes to manage peak season. However, it can be especially challenging amongst restaurants for large groups. With this in mind, here are the nine best tips for keeping stress levels low and profits high:

1. Require Reservation Bookings Ahead of Time 

If there’s a season when every shift is busy, you can't accept large parties at the last minute. Besides, there probably won't be enough seats as each party arrives. By requiring that guests book reservations in advance, the whole staff will have enough time to plan. From recipe costing

 to restaurant seating, it all becomes much easier to handle. 

2. Stock Inventory Accordingly 

Owners of restaurants for large groups must make smart decisions when purchasing inventory. Use inventory forecasting and demand planning tools to buy ideal amounts of each ingredient, without exceeding what you need. Taking this step will also let you dodge the risk and expense that is food spoilage

Though maintaining inventory control is important for every food business, it’s essential during peak season. For one, you’re going to need more of each ingredient. Second, the risk of running out of ingredients to make certain dishes can boost the table turnover rate.

If one of the waiters tells a customer that they can’t make a dish listed on the menu, they may have to take time to decide on something else. Instead, group dinner restaurants can take precautions to avoid this dilemma altogether.

3. Hire Temporary Staff Members 

Consider deviating from your full-time staff roster during peak season. By employing temporary employees, the restaurant will accomplish much more. Team members for the wait staff and kitchen will deliver the most value, as they are the busiest roles. The best part? Temporary positions will keep the labor cost at a minimum over time, and each new employee will be aware of the timeline.

4. Use Innovative Restaurant Technology to Streamline Tasks

The sole purposes of restaurant tech are to streamline operations and maximize revenue. Restaurants for large groups can benefit from many options, especially during peak season. Let's look at two options. 

Tableside devices will allow customers to complete tasks on their own, like ordering food and paying the bill. This way, the wait staff can tend to more urgent matters. Or, online ordering apps can broaden the eatery’s reach. The seating capacity can only accommodate so many guests. So, offer food via delivery to expand the customer base during each shift. 

Of course, there are many other tech solutions that can improve restaurants for large groups during peak season. These are just two that can lessen stress and boost efficiency. 

5. Keep the Kitchen Efficient 

Ensure that the kitchen is an efficient place to work. If all the different types of chefs have a neat and furnished place to work, they’ll be able to make better use of their time. 

Acquiring multiple sets of dishware and cookware are just two tips to make the kitchen more efficient. It’s also ideal to have commercial-grade appliances. With enough space, chefs can prepare more orders at a time. During peak season, this is exactly what you need to accomplish.

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6. Prepare Ingredients and Dishes In Advance

A foolproof way to combat peak season in a restaurant is to prepare as much food as possible in advance. Does your eatery have a handful of best-sellers? If so, chop the appropriate ingredients, slice and cook different parts of the dish, and freeze what can be heated at a later time. 

Meal preparation in restaurants good for groups will save significant amounts of time during each shift. And when the sous chef can have meals ready for guests at a quicker pace, the customer service will be that much better.

7. Have a Shorter Menu for Each Group Reservation

Do you allow guests to book reservations for large parties and events? If so, feature shorter and more restrictive versions of the menu types. This idea is actually ideal for the entire peak season. If there’s one way to streamline kitchen operations to produce faster service at restaurants for large groups, it’s to have fewer dishes to prepare.

8. Allow Customers to Opt Into a Waitlist 

What if your restaurant’s seating capacity is on the smaller side. But, you still want to accommodate the maximum number of people during peak season. To find a balance amidst this situation, allow customers to opt into a waitlist.

With a waitlist, group dining restaurants can keep their reservation book full. When the time comes when a party should cancel their booking, there’s no need to worry. Simply reach out to the next party that can fill the remaining seats. This way, eateries can maximize profits no matter what. 

But what if people cancel at the last minute or don’t show up at all? No problem–require a credit card to reserve a table, and charge a cancellation fee if it falls within a certain window. And of course, in the event that the party doesn’t arrive. By running operations this way, the restaurant won’t completely miss out on the revenue.

9. Conduct a Post-Season Data Analysis 

After each busy season comes to a close, be sure you analyze data from this period. If you’re wondering where you’ll retrieve relevant metrics, the POS system will be your best friend. A point of sale report for a specific period can tell you all you need to know. 

Consumer data regarding favorite dishes, number of large group reservations, and total cart values will help plan future peak seasons. Without a restaurant data analytics dashboard, business owners would have to rely on a lot of guesswork. In doing so, they can run into errors. 

By backing up future decisions with customer data, businesses can feel more confident when making changes. Over time, this will lead to a more successful restaurant.

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurants for Large Groups

Restaurants for large groups are destined for success. Let's face it--if they have the capacity for maximum guests, there's no reason to limit their success. However, it can be difficult to manage restaurant operations, especially during busy seasons.

Once you acquire the knack for managing restaurants of larger scales in general, keeping up with large reservations will become a breeze. Want to learn more about it? See below:

How Can Customers Find Restaurants for Large Groups?

Consumers can locate restaurants for large groups by researching online. In fact, this is why restaurant SEO is so important. If you’re a restaurant owner or manager looking to promote large group dining, this is a sure way to do it.

What Information Should Restaurants Require for Large Group Reservations?

Restaurants for large groups should require the following information upon accepting reservations:

  • Party host’s name
  • Date and time
  • Number of people in the party
  • Any allergies or dietary restrictions
  • Number of adults vs. children

What Are Some Tips for When Large Groups Split the Bill?

If a large group decides to split the bill, require the wait staff to ask about separate checks upon taking everyone's drink order. It's also beneficial to use a restaurant POS platform that can easily split the bill. 

How Far In Advance Should Large Groups Book a Restaurant Reservation?

Depending on the size of the group, large parties should book their reservation about three months in advance. If the customer is hoping to host a more formal event at the restaurant, an earlier reservation might be necessary. It all depends on the space and amenities of each restaurant.

How Can Restaurants Ensure a Smooth Experience for Large Groups?

Restaurants for big groups can ensure a smooth dining experience for large groups by following these steps:

  • Use an all-inclusive POS system
  • Offer event management services
  • Have ample space for large groups
  • Set aside private rooms for special events
  • Offer custom and specialty menus 
  • Offer flexible payment options
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Ready for Busy Season?

Keeping up with orders and service during peak season can be quite the challenge. But once you onboard the right solutions and get the proper team in place, anything is possible. In fact, it might even turn into a rewarding and enjoyable time. Excited to streamline your restaurant’s busy season? Let Revolution Ordering help you out! Book a demo today to discuss all things innovation!