I really don’t like this time of year at the restaurant, for one very specific reason.
We can’t serve everybody.
In a typical week we’ll have one or two nights full, one or two quiet nights, and the rest around 40-60%. We might turn away a couple of tables if it’s a particularly busy week.
However, over the past three years we’ve become pretty much full every night during the Christmas and New Year holidays, with some nights fully booked more than a week in advance.
This leads to the restaurateur’s eternal nightmare: turning customers away.
We can seat 38 covers with our normal table arrangement, an extra 2 easily with a bit of shuffling, and at an absolute push (if we bring in extra furniture and depending on table sizes and seating arrangements) an absolute total of 46, assuming no odd-numbered tables. In a typical evening with evenly distributed reservations we can just about serve that many people with the staff, menu and kitchen that we have.
Last night we served 37 people (35 + two children). Last night we turned away an additional 37 covers (bizarrely, 35 + two children). The worst of it is we’d normally get the ‘overflow’ to come back later in the week, but as we’re basically already fully booked until Tuesday, they’re just permanently lost customers.
I really hate it when that happens…..