Whether you take reservations or not, are you treating your customers well by providing seating for those waiting for a table? Even if you have limited space, it’s a gesture that does not go unnoticed, especially if you have an older clientele. Waiting is so much more palatable if there’s a place to sit. Even the most successful eateries—you know, the ones that can still afford to have potential customers leave when there’s too long a wait for a table—could take a page from the book of the smart entrepreneurs who leave some real estate for a waiting area.
There are plenty of routes to go: chairs, banquettes, directing folks to wait in the bar and have a drink while waiting to be called. Select furnishings that allow some comfort so your patrons don’t feel like a herd of cattle waiting to be let into a corral.
Talk with your restaurant chairs vendor about possible seating arrangements in your waiting area and how much space you can devote to it. You may also wish to have small tables or high-boys where you can place nuts or samples of your breads, for example, or for holding drinks while they wait. Select seats that allow some personal space so people are not elbow to elbow.