Ideas and inspiration for limited seating

Looking for ways to increase your revenue despite being restricted by total dine-in guests? Here's a list of ideas to get you thinking, consider what might work for your venue and brand, and have some fun - your guests will notice.


Menu

  • Prepaid and contactless reservations - Let guests select your food and drink when booking online. Reduces time in venue, skip taking orders and start serving as soon as they sit. 
  • Ticketed Dining - Another way to offer prepaid reservations, sell all bookings at a fixed price and have guests dine on a set number of courses. You decide if guests can select between various options on the day, or whether it's all pre-defined.
  • Set Menu's - Use set menu's to simplify your offering, plan ahead, reduce waste and speed up service

Diversify

  • Offer a take away or "at home" menu
  • Offer catering to corporates, deliver food for their "work from home" team events
  • Sell digital experiences and meal kit subscriptions
  • Introduce a grocery or merchandise arm to your business
  • By day - Become a "work from home cafe" by day (take bookings and even pre-payment for a "desk", pay, By night - 10 seater exclusive diner by night
  • Run Events - Sell exclusive dine-in offerings to a small audience
  • Vouchers - Make sure you're selling online vouchers and promoting them on socials

Opening Hours

  • Extend you hours - Add additional services and extend your opening hours. Consider reducing your staff levels for each shift, but offering new service, like new days of the week, or lunch or breakfast when you might not normally trade.

Staff

  • Leverage your staff's unique skills and give them a chance to run their own pop-ups and take-overs at your venue. Are you normally shut on a Monday night? Offer your chef's to run their own pop-up events in your venue. They get to create the menu, promote it and fill the venue, work out a bonus or profit sharing scheme so they are motivated to get results and you can still have a night off. Do you trade 7 days? Get them to run a high tea event, or lunch or breakfast event, anything that fits nicely in a slot where you don't run your normal trade.

Collaborate

  • Is your kitchen under-utilised at the minute? Find local businesses that who can on-sell your menu. For example, find a local accommodation provider and offer your menu for pre-order or as their high end "in-room" dining service.

Catering

  • What local businesses could benefit from catered food? Try to set up a recurring order, or weekly commitment, to cater to a local businesses lunch needs. It's reliable business for you, it's a morale builder for them, and it's not bound by total patron limits.

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