Half full or half empty restaurant?


You walk into a restaurant at 5.30pm on a Saturday, with an eye for a garlic bread, a Diavola pizza and a double helping of profiteroles, all washed down with a pint of Peroni, a bottle of Chianti and a Jamaican coffee. And hey presto, there’s only one table of four people in there – bingo! Dinner is on!

Not necessarily so…

At 6pm there may be tables booked, further tables booked at 6.30pm and then again at 7pm. If you are seated at 5.30pm, you therefore take the table of someone who has pre-booked a table within the next 90 mins. And even if the tables were all vacant until 7pm, a 90 minute window is less than most people take for a three course meal, with wine and coffee (especially if they make a special couples’ visit to the toilets between courses – but that’s a whole new blog post…).

So why are we making this point?

A recent Saturday teatime saw a group of customers arrive, without a booking, and sit themselves down; napkins on lap and beaming at the fillet steak on the menu. Unfortunately, it’s rarely we have a Saturday night that isn’t booked up in advance – which we explained. The response was along the lines of “it doesn’t look very full to us” – which is a fair comment – it was empty.

We therefore realise that the logistics of restaurant bookings aren’t quite as transparent as we have taken for granted. We hope this helps explain why we aren’t being difficult intentionally, and avoids a repeat of staff being deemed arseholes if we turn customers away, which we try not to do.

Logistics is also the reason why you’ll more often than not get a long pause when you ring up and ask if we have space – as the cogs turn and we work out who, what, where and when. The author of this post is particularly guilty of this…

Bookings in advance is required for all days. This isn’t just due to being full, but also so that we can serve you more quickly by the restaurant having the appropriate food preparation and waiting staff in place. It’s a fine balance of juggling staff provision with expected customer numbers. Sundays is a real culprit of this – it’s very variable. It can go from a table of one, sitting without food and drowning their sorrows into a cup of warm milk, to eight tables of four all rocking up at once, just as we’ve sent a waitress home.

So please book in advance. We hope we’ve helped give an understanding of why this is helpful and that you will forgive any Sunday where you’ve had to wait a little longer to be served, due to one waitress holding fort: pouring pints whilst decorating a cheesecake, answering the phone whilst serving food, and taking your order whilst throwing a parmesan shower over the meals on the neighbouring table.

Routes to book: 01625 573898 or via www.briscola.co.uk

Footnote: we appreciate that there is a Christmas tree in the photo – but today it has snowed like Lapland in December, so it felt quite fitting…


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