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We understand that every shift of service is different and unexpected things pop up regularly. While you can’t predict which guests will be late and which employees will call in sick (among the other hundred things that are also unpredictable), you can put yourself in the best position to deal with those everyday surprises by preparing for what you can expect.

Below, in Part Three of a series of learnings on managing your door more effectively (Read Part 2 – The Power of Communication here), Reserve’s industry vets share easy ways for managers, hostesses, and reservationists to prepare for what’s to come at the door.

Prepare for everything you can prepare for.

“Role play with your staff during training. Go through the actions in real context. You have the opportunity to bring hospitality to another level when you’re not thinking about the tactical or task oriented elements of the job.” — Eli Feldman, former DOO at Barbara Lynch Gruppo in Boston and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

“Be prepared for what you think is going to happen. Of course, once the door opens, you have no idea what’s going to happen and you have to be ready to deal with it no matter what comes. But the more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with those situations as they come up.” — Peter Esmond, former General Manager of Per Se in New York and current VP of Customer Success at Reserve

“Have specific policies and a system down pat for waits and special situations. Don’t just let your waitlist accumulate and not know what to do. Create specific policies in advance about managing your waitlist.” — Brad Zanoni, former Service Manager at Spiaggia in Chicago and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

“If you know, anticipate, or expect people are going to wait, you need to design a place for people to do it. It doesn’t have to be huge — it can be two chairs sitting next to the front door or drink rails — but try to design for that. If you have crappy corners, two bev mats can turn a crappy corner into a place designed for guests to wait.” — Eli Feldman, former DOO at Barbara Lynch Gruppo in Boston and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

Want to learn more about how Reserve’s technology can help you manage your door? Click here to chat with us.

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Ineffective communication is damaging to any type of relationship, and the ones you’re trying to build at your restaurant are no different. Frequent and honest communications, with both your guests and your team, are essential in order for things to run smoothly at your door.

Below, in Part Two of a series of learnings on managing your door more effectively (Read Part 1 – Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen here), Reserve’s industry vets provide tips for managers, hostesses, and reservationists on cultivating open communication in your restaurant.

Be proactive, not reactive, in your guest communication.

Don’t wait for a table that you quoted 30 minutes to come to you at 40 minutes. Instead, at 25 minutes, update them with a glass of champagne. If a guest is initiating something, you’re behind. Always be ahead and proactive.” — Peter Esmond, former General Manager of Per Se in New York and current VP of Customer Success at Reserve

“Don’t ignore people who are waiting. It may be tough to keep going back and saying table isn’t ready, but it’s better than ignoring them and hoping the problem will fix itself.” — Katie Nielsen, former Operations Manager at Motze in San Francisco and current Implementation and Support Specialist – West Coast at Reserve

Honesty is the best policy.

“If the hosts communicate to the guests about what’s happening, and if you’re honest and not giving false quotes, guests will stay.” — Ben Fileccia, former DOO of Sbraga Dining in Philadelphia and current Restaurant Partnerships Manager – Mid-Atlantic at Reserve

“There’s a tendency to avoid confrontation which exacerbates the situation. Don’t be afraid to admit to an error and be up front and honest with a guest. And then you can resolve the issue for them in a way that’s memorable” — Chandre Geis, former General Manager of Uchi Restaurant and La Condesa in Austin and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

Share what you know with others.

“Be sure to communicate what you’ve noticed about angry or irritated guests across your restaurant so the rest of your team can manage that guest properly throughout the night.” — Brad Zanoni, former Service Manager at Spiaggia in Chicago and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

“Constantly communicate to your team what’s happening so that collectively you’re dealing with issues, instead of one person on an island handling things. You’ll never be successful that way.” — Peter Esmond, former General Manager of Per Se in New York and current VP of Customer Success at Reserve

Want to learn more about how Reserve’s technology can help you manage your door? Click here to chat with us.

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A guest starts forming an impression of your restaurant the minute they step inside, so it’s important to create a great experience for them even at the door. But when the doors are opening and it’s all happening, how do you keep everything in check? How do you handle guests that are waiting? How can you use technology to make things more efficient?

Below, in Part One of a series of learnings on managing your door more effectively, Reserve’s industry vets share ways that managers can be helpful at the door while avoiding having “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Because (surprise!) 10 different people manning the books isn’t the best approach.

Know your role and stick to it.

As the GM, I actively tried not to take an order on a table. I’d pour water, I’d bus tables, I’d run food but anything relationship oriented like taking an order cuts off your server at the knees. Or if you’re greeting the guests, it’s the same thing. The host should say hello and goodnight. The GM should just support all those responsibilities and elevate where possible.Peter Esmond, former General Manager of Per Se in New York and current VP of Customer Success at Reserve

If you’re in a high volume restaurant, it’s critical you have one stationary point person at the door. Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen.Chandre Geis, former General Manager of of Aster in San Francisco and Uchi Restaurant and La Condesa in Austin and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

Allow the host to do their job and not overstep. The host usually does have a plan and everything is mapped out in a particular way. Look in from the outside and step in as needed.Katie Nielsen, former Operations Manager at Motze in San Francisco and current Implementation and Support Specialist – West Coast at Reserve

Show your face — your best one.

It’s difficult for an anchor to go and hunt down a manager when things are chaotic. So a GM should come up regularly and be in touch with the host stand. Then they can be the in between person — to let the kitchen know how many menus are about to drop and to talk to guests that are waiting too long.Katarina Havana, former Maître d’ of Spice Market in New York and current Implementation and Support Specialist – East Coast at Reserve

A manager should model the behavior and optimistic default they want their team at the front door to mimic.Eli Feldman, former DOO at Barbara Lynch Gruppo in Boston and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

Put out the fires.

The GM should always get involved at the 15 minute mark when a guest is waiting. The host would come tap me and tell me who was waiting 15+ minutes and I would introduce myself and talk to the guest. We’d become friends, and it’s typically great after that.Ben Fileccia, former DOO of Sbraga Dining in Philadelphia and current Restaurant Partnerships Manager – Mid-Atlantic at Reserve

The GM is the diffuser when you get angry customers from time to time. Sometimes guests just need to know they’ve talked to someone else besides the host.Pete Schaaf, former GM of Roberta’s in New York and current Restaurant Success Manager at Reserve

Want to learn more about how Reserve’s technology can help you manage your door? Click here to chat with us.

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No matter where your summer travels take you, whether it’s to the coasts or someplace in between, an exciting culinary adventure awaits you. Here’s a list of top restaurants available to book exclusively on Reserve.com or the restaurant’s website in Boston / New England, Chicago / Midwest, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Plus, our list of great places to dine on the North Fork should you escape the Big Apple for the beach.

Check out the whole list:

 

BOSTON / NEW ENGLAND

Photo provided by The Barley Neck Inn in Cape Cod.

Milk Money – Providence
The 50 Best Restaurants to Eat at in Providence – Spoon University
Milk Money dishes out seasonal, globally inspired fare and great cocktails in a rustic-chic space. | Grab your table at Milk Money now.

The Barley Neck Inn – Cape Cod
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
In an 1868 historic sea captain’s house, The Barley Neck Inn dishes out fresh seafood, burgers, and flatbreads, plus wine and cocktails. | Grab your table at The Barley Neck Inn now.

Fin – Cape Cod
Best of Boston: Best Restaurant in Cape Cod 2013 – Boston Magazine
Fin dishes out contemporary seafood dishes using local, sustainable ingredients, plus homemade desserts. | Grab your table at Fin now.

The Fix Burger Bar – Worcester
Where to eat and drink in Worcester – The Boston Globe
A Niche Hospitality Group restaurant (Bocado, Mezcal Tequila), The Fix Burger Bar offers handmade burgers with over 40 toppings choices, plus starters, salads, spiked milkshakes, and craft beers. | Grab your table at The Fix Burger Bar now.

Monument Restaurant & Tavern – Charlestown
70+ Newest and Hottest Restaurants That Opened Around Boston Winter 2017 – Eater
An American restaurant and bar, Monument dishes out wood-fired pizzas, steak, and seafood, plus wine, cocktails, and beer. | Grab your table at Monument now.

CHICAGO

Photo provided by Vicia in St. Louis.

Vicia – St. Louis, MO
The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in America of 2017 – Eater
Vicia, the hotly anticipated restaurant from husband-and-wife duo and alumni of New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns Michael and Tara Gallina, opened this spring in St. Louis. The vegetable-focused restaurant celebrates local produce and sustainably-raised meats. | Grab your table at Vicia now.

Gold Cash Gold – Detroit, MI
The Hottest Restaurants in Detroit March 2017 – Eater
Gold Cash Gold offers seasonal Southern-inspired shareable snacks and small plates, plus a number of entrees, cocktails, and a guided wine experience in downtown Detroit. | Grab your table at Gold Cash Gold now.

PUBLIC Kitchen + Bar – St. Paul, MN
The Twin Cities’ Best New Summer Restaurant Openings 2014 – Thrillist
PUBLIC kitchen + bar serves contemporary American fare, and offers sidewalk patio seating for summertime in St. Paul. | Grab your table at PUBLIC Kitchen + Bar now.

Brickhouse – Chicago, IL
11 Chicago-Area Restaurant Openings to Know – Eater
Named for one of Chicago’s greatest sportscasters, Jack Brickhouse, Brickhouse is a tavern-style restaurant from Four Corners Tavern Group (Schoolyard Tavern & Grill, Ranalli’s) right outside of Wrigley Field. | Grab your table at Brickhouse now.

Split-Rail – Chicago, IL
The Most Notable Restaurant Openings Around Town – Zagat
From acclaimed chef Zoë Schor (formerly of Ada Street), Split-Rail delivers chef-driven “New Americana” comfort fare in West Town. | Grab your table at Split-Rail now.

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen – Chicago, IL
Most anticipated Chicago restaurant openings – FOX
From husband-and-wife duo Thai and Danielle Dang (formerly of Embeya), HaiSous in Pilsen offers authentic Vietnamese dishes and cooking techniques, including an open-flame clay pot grilling method. | Grab your table at HaiSous now.

Mango Pickle – Chicago, IL
1.5 Stars – Chicago Magazine
Inspired by chef Marisa Paolillo’s time living in India, Mango Pickle is located in Edgewater and features a seasonal, contemporary Indian menu, complemented by a gin and whisky bar. | Grab your table at Mango Pickle now.

El Tapeo – Chicago, IL
Where to do a theater and dining date night in Oak Brook – Chicago Tribune
El Tapeo offers modern, Spanish-inspired fare, plus signature sangrias, crafted cocktails, and an extensive wine list, on the 9th floor of Le Meridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center. | Grab your table at El Tapeo now.

DENVER

Photo provided by Cooper Lounge in Lodo.

Cooper Lounge – Lodo
Denver’s 10 Best Restaurants and Bars for Every Occasion – Zagat
Situated in the mezzanine of Denver Union Station, Cooper Lounge offers high-end cocktails, wine, and shareable plates — think charcuterie and cheese, shellfish, and decadent desserts. | Grab your table at Cooper Lounge now.

Philadelphia

Photo provided by DanDan – Mainline.

Village Whiskey – Rittenhouse Square
15 Splurge Worthy Burgers Across America – Zagat
Village Whiskey presents gourmet pub fare and raw bar items by award-winning chef Jose Garces and chef de cuisine Jose Olmeda. You no longer have to wait for a table when you’re with a client — the popular Rittenhouse Square spot is now accepting reservations for lunch. | Grab your table at Village Whiskey now.

Enoteca Tredici – Bryn Mawr
Philly’s Most Anticipated Spring 2017 Openings – Zagat
A branch of the Washington Square West Italian bistro, Enoteca Tredici – Bryn Mawr is an Italian wine bar that offers shareable plates, fresh pasta, and cocktails. | Grab your table now at Enoteca Tredici – Bryn Mawr.

DanDan – Mainline
Philadelphia’s Most Anticipated Openings, Spring 2017 – Eater
DanDan – Mainline offers Sichuan and Taiwanese cooking, including its signature DanDan noodles. | Grab your table at DanDan – Mainline now.

Junto – Chadds Ford
The 19 Best New Restaurants in Philadelphia – Thrillist
Showcasing food and produce from the Tri-State Area, Junto is a BYOB spot that delivers American farmhouse fare using Native American preservation and pickling techniques passed down through chef MacGregor Mann’s roots. | Grab your table at Junto now.

San Francisco

Photo provided by Mezcalito in Russian Hill.

Mezcalito – Russian Hill
The Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco Jan 2017 – Eater
A cocktail bar and restaurant, Mezcalito offers Oaxacan-inspired small plates — think tacos, crudo, and homemade guacamole — plus a wide mezcal selection. | Grab your table at Mezcalito now.

Station House Cafe – Point Reyes
10 Great Places for Oysters in Coastal Marin – Eater
Station House Cafe offers a seasonal American menu using local, organic seafood, meat, and produce. | Grab your table at Station House Cafe now.

North Fork

The weather gods are making up for the late start to summer by finally sending warmer weather our way! If you’re beach bound to the North Fork this summer, grab your table for fresh seafood and crisp white wine all summer long.

Photo provided by Barba Bianca in Greenport.

Bruce & Son
Bruce & Son serves up locally inspired American fare — think pressed sandwiches, salads, and egg dishes — for breakfast, brunch and lunch, plus tap beer and North Fork wine. | Grab your table at Bruce & Son now.

Porto Bello
Porto Bello offers Northern Italian fare, cocktails, and North Fork wines. | Grab your table at Porto Bello now.

Orient by the Sea
Orient by the Sea offers a seafood focused menu — think raw bar selections, lobster, and fresh catches — plus views of the marina and Gardiners Bay. | Grab your table at Orient by the Sea now.

Barba Bianca
Suspended directly over the water and overlooking the Peconic Bay, Barba Bianca offers fresh, farm-to-table Italian fare using produce and proteins from the North Fork. | Grab your table at Barba Bianca now.

KonTiKi
Located at The Gallery Hotel, KonTiKi offers eclectic Asian cuisine, great drinks, and a lively vibe. | Grab your table at KonTiKi now.

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There’s something about the start of summer that makes us want to dine out — all the time. You too? Here’s a list of top restaurants available to book exclusively on Reserve.com or the restaurant’s website just in time for summer in your cities — Asheville, Boston / New England, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Plus, find our list of the best places to dine in Nantucket for when you’re beach bound at the bottom.

Check out the whole list:

 

ASHEVILLE

Photo provided by Jargon in West Asheville.

Jargon – West Asheville
New & Notable Eateries, May/June 2017 – WNC Magazine
Jargon offers continental small plates, influenced by Asian, European, and American cuisines, as well as specialty cocktails. | Grab your table at Jargon now.

BOSTON / NEW ENGLAND

Photo provided by The Automatic in Cambridge, MA.

The Automatic – Cambridge
The 20 most exciting restaurants opening around Boston Fall 2016 – Boston Globe
The Automatic serves up bar snacks, burgers, and sandwiches to pair with classic cocktails, beer, and wine. | Grab your table at The Automatic now.

Les Sablons – Boston, MA
Boston’s 18 Most Anticipated Spring Restaurant Openings – Zagat
From the team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34, Les Sablons lives somewhere in the bustle between London and Paris, revealing a culinary worldview both bold and familiar in the iconic Conductor’s Building in Harvard Square. | Grab your table at Les Sablons now.

CHICAGO

Photo provided by La Josie in West Loop.

Cafe Marie-Jeanne – Humboldt Park
11 Hits of the 2016 Year in Chicago – Zagat
A cozy cafe and wine bar, Cafe Marie-Jeanne dishes out classic French cuisine and wines to pair for brunch, lunch, and dinner. | Grab your table at Cafe Marie-Jeanne now.

La Josie – West Loop
The most notable restaurant openings around town May 2017 – Zagat
From the team behind El Solazo, La Josie offers traditional Mexican flavors and signature cocktails amidst a private rooftop setting. | Grab your table at La Josie now.

Daisies – Logan Square
65 exciting openings in Chicago in June – Time Out Chicago
Daisies offers a pasta-focused menu with locally grown vegetables from Frillman Farms, plus vinegar-based, lighter cocktails called shrubs and shims. | Grab your table at Daisies now.

NEW YORK

Photo provided by P.J. Clarke’s in Lincoln Square.

P.J. Clarke’s – Lincoln Square
The Vatican of Saloons – The New York Times
An iconic restaurant since 1884, P.J. Clarke’s – Lincoln Square dishes out classic American fare — think raw bar selections, salads, renowned burgers, lobster rolls, and steaks. | Grab your table at P.J. Clarke’s now.

Philadelphia

Photo provided by DanDan – Mainline.

DanDan – Mainline
Philadelphia’s Most Anticipated Openings, Spring 2017 – Eater
DanDan – Mainline offers Sichuan and Taiwanese cooking, including its signature DanDan noodles. | Grab your table at DanDan – Mainline now.

Junto – Chadds Ford
The 19 Best New Restaurants in Philadelphia – Thrillist
Showcasing food and produce from the Tri-State Area, Junto is a BYOB spot that delivers American farmhouse fare using Native American preservation and pickling techniques passed down through chef MacGregor Mann’s roots. | Grab your table at Junto now.

The Social – West Chester
5 Best Bars in West Chester According to Yelp – The Patch
The Social offers Cajun-inspired Southern fare, including classic appetizers, burgers, and fried chicken, plus live entertainment. | Grab your table at The Social now.

San Francisco

Photo provided by Marla Bakery in Outer Sunset.

Hitachino Beer & Wagyu – Nob Hill
Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco May 2017 – Zagat
Hitachino SF is a kappo-style spot, delivering a fully-balanced Japanese meal using the five primary cooking techniques (grilling, steaming, frying, simmering, and raw preparations). | Grab your table at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu now.

Alta at Minnesota Street Project – Potrero Hill
Michelin-starred Chef
An outpost of Daniel Patterson’s Alta CA within the Minnesota Street Project, Alta offers casual California cuisine, matching the creative cuisine with the space’s vibrant aesthetic. | Grab your table at Alta at Minnesota Street Project now.

Marla Bakery – Outer Sunset
The Best Brunches in SF, According to Chefs – Thrillist
Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Marla Bakery delivers delicious New American fare, plus fresh breads and pastries, wine, and cocktails. | Grab your table at Marla Bakery now.

The Brass Rabbit – Healdsburg
Best Bay Area Openings Fall 2016 – Tasting Table
From chef Shane McAnelly of nearby Chalkboard, The Brass Rabbit offers a meaty American menu, including fresh seafood and prime cuts cooked on its wood-burning grill, rotisserie, or plancha. | Grab your table at The Brass Rabbit now.

Kingfish – San Mateo
Largest collection of authentic, Southern-Louisiana folk art in the country
Kingfish offers a seafood-focused menu, including raw bar selections and fresh catches, plus steaks, flatbreads, and cocktails. | Grab your table at Kingfish now.

Nantucket

The weather Gods have apologized for the Memorial Day chill and promised warm sunshine is coming soon! You know what that means? If you plan to be beach bound to Nantucket this summer, grab your reservations at these island spots now for fresh seafood and crisp white wine all summer long.

Photo provided by Proprietors Bar & Table in Nantucket.

The Proprietors Bar & Table
Best of Boston: Best Restaurant in Nantucket 2015 – Boston Magazine
An ode to the well-traveled original 1650’s landowners of Nantucket, Proprietors Bar & Table speaks to the island’s history, offering adventurous seafood and vegetable dishes with international inspiration. | Grab your table at The Proprietors Bar & Table now.

The Chanticleer
The Best of Nantucket in Just Three Days – The Wall Street Journal
In a former tea room, The Chanticleer offers sophisticated American cuisine using seasonal ingredients, as well as acclaimed wines.| Grab your table at The Chanticleer now.

Nantucket Prime
5 Romantic Bed-and-Breakfasts to Visit this Year – U.S. News Travel
Located at the historic Jared Coffin House, Nantucket Prime is a sophisticated island steakhouse, delivering prime meats, grilled fish, and raw bar selections. | Grab your table at Nantucket Prime now.

Straight Wharf
Three Stars – Frommer’s Travel Guide
Straight Wharf dishes out classic, seafood-focused cuisine for brunch, lunch and dinner to pair with an extensive wine list and beachy vibe. | Grab your table at Straight Wharf now.

Ventuno
Best of Boston: Best Bar in Nantucket 2016 – Boston Magazine
Ventuno dishes out Italian-inspired fare, including cured meats, crostini, homemade pasta and fresh seafood, plus regional wines. | Grab your table at Ventuno now.

Dune
15 Best Romantic Restaurants on Nantucket – Vacation Idea
Dune serves seasonal New American fare, craft cocktails and wines for lunch and dinner. | Grab your table at Dune now.

Atlas
Nantucket’s Best Bites 2016 – Yesterday’s Island, Today’s Nantucket
Atlas delivers Asian and Mediterranean-inspired fare — think grilled and smoked seafood, meat and vegetable dishes — using fresh ingredients made from scratch daily. | Grab your table at Atlas now.

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