Article: “More Than A Place to Grab A Quick Drink” (June 2006)

hotel_lobby.jpg

excerpt:
"It is transforming the bar into a constantly evolving part of the lobby, where guests can eat an omelet in the morning, conduct a meeting in the afternoon and have a martini at night…The firm's executives have dubbed it "A.M. comfort, P.M. cool." The idea is to make the lobby — a place where guests weren't spending money — a destination with plenty of opportunities throughout the day for guests to employ their expense accounts.

"You're going to turn a loss into a gain," said John L. Williams, president of DiamondRock Hospitality Co., which owns several Marriott hotels and will include the new bar functions in its properties. "You are making a unit of the hotel more functional, more efficient, and more responsive to the customer needs of today," Williams said."

source: "More Than A Place to Grab A Quick Drink" by Michael S. Rosenwald (Washington Post, Jun. 12,2006)

 WaiterBell Angle: Providing table service to casual gathering spaces such as lobbies, balconies, and outdoor settings does two important things for hotels: increase guest spending oppportunities and emphasizes flexibility in its customer focus. 

The challenge in this is to be able to provide consistent, attentive table service for these spaces and cost-efficient staff scheduling to handle the ebbs and flows of these spaces. If these spaces do not receive consistent, attentive table service, then the goal of these spaces is lost. Wireless signaling systems are a perfect complement to these situations. 

Article: “Rooftop patios take Charlotte to higher level” (Apr.2006)

excerpt:
"Currents Coastal Cuisine, a new upscale restaurant in Ballantyne, is the newest addition to the rooftop scene.

The view: Only open a few weeks, the restaurant's 36-seat rooftop patio already is popular. "It's a nice place for people to sit and relax while feeling as if they're up and away from everything," says general manager Mark Mueller.

The view isn't spectacular — it overlooks some busy roads and the parking lot of Lowe's Foods — but patrons seem to get a kick out of watching everyone below scurrying to complete their errands while they're above it all kicking back with a cool beverage."

source: "Rooftop patios take Charlotte to higher level" by Olivia Fortson (The Charlotte Observer, Apr.21, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: Eating outside, whether it is on a patio, a pier, or on a roof, is a unique joy. As stated in the article above, the view doesn't even have to be very much. The WaiterBell system helps restaurants to maximize this unique dining experience for their customers.

With WaiterBell, outside diners never have to worry about feeling stranded from the waitstaff operating inside. WaiterBell helps customers enjoy their outdoor dining while knowing that WaiterBell is there if they need any assistance. Also, if a customer desires more privacy, the waitstaff can rest assured that they will know if any assistance is needed.

Article: “Confessions of a restaurant designer” (Apr.2006)

excerpt:
"Make the bad seats as appealing as possible ''Our first golden rule is no bad seats in a restaurant. There always have to be seats near the kitchen door, the bathroom, or entrance. But you make those special seats. You put in banquettes or booths so people don't feel like they're getting the bad seat near the kitchen."

Modern design can leave diners feeling cold ''By and large, people love a warmer, darker environment. They gravitate toward warmer environments rather than something that's very slick."

source: "Confessions of a restaurant designer" by Christopher Muther (Boston Globe, Apr.13, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system allows you to create restaurant seating in booths or "warmer, darker environments" without sacrificing service for your customer. Customers never have to worry about being "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to signaling for additional assistance.

Article: “Quality Restaurant Service: Is Standard Fare for Skilled Workers” (Sept.2005)

excerpt:

"William Barnard of Oakland dines out at least twice a week and knows good service; he also knows when the wait staff is indifferent. A recent experience at a restaurant on the Peninsula made the evening memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"I was there with business associates and wanted to try a new restaurant that had been touted," he recalls. "The place was cavernous and the eight servers outnumbered the customers."

It was a warm night and the small group decided to sit outside. After a long wait the server appeared, filled their water glasses and disappeared. "We had to hunt for more water, bread and for the waiter so we could order," Barnard complains. "There were only two other customers in the restaurant that probably sat 150 people. We knew the servers were out there but we couldn’t see them. It was almost funny."

Having to chase down the waiter for the bill was the icing on the cake.

"It is disappointing when the meal is superior but the service is not up to the same standards," he concludes. "That is what stands out in my memory."

link: "Article: "Quality Restaurant Service: Is Standard Fare for Skilled Workers" by Julia Hollister (California Job Journal, Sept. 4, 2005)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system is designed to prevent this type of incident from occurring in restaurants with outside or patio seating. The system is a supplement to the waitstaff, as well as a comfort to the customers knowing that they can discreetly and reliably signal for assistance if necessary.

Research: The Impact of Restaurant Table Characteristics on Meal Duration and Spending (Nov.2004)

excerpt:

“As might be predicted from the literature, tables that offered more potential for privacy regulation generally resulted in a higher average check and a longer than average duration. Tables that were more exposed, such as those along interior windows facing the patio, had a lower average check and a shorter average duration…This finding is in keeping with the demonstrated relationship between a pleasant shopping environment and higher spending.”

“While not all table characteristics appeared to affect customers’ behavior in this study, we found that booths generated the highest SPM (Spending Per Minute) of all table types, banquette seating generated the lowest SPM, and what most people might term a bad table still generated a reasonable rate of SPM during busy times. These findings are based solely on a single restaurant, but they suggest that there may be interesting relationships between a restaurant’s environment and its customers’ behavior that merit more investigation as well as consideration by restaurant planners and managers as they create new and more effective amenities.”

link: “The Impact of Restaurant Table Characteristics on Meal Duration and Spending” by Sheryl E. Kimes and Stepani K. A. Robson (Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Nov.2004) [free registration required]

WaiterBell Angle: Based on the research above, it is understandable for restaurant designers to want to include some tables with a degree of privacy with regards to customer preferences and restaurant profitability. However the question that arises is how to provide efficient attentive service to booths or semi-private tables.

The WaiterBell system would allow a restaurant to provide semi-private dining and efficient, attentive service.  This would also accomplish two additional restaurant goals: a relaxed, enjoyable dining experience and repeat customer business.

Article: “Exclusive look at hidden tables” (Jun. 2005)

excerpt:

“Cocoon dining,” with secluded booths often cordoned off by gauzy fabric or a curtain, is being offered at fine and mid-level restaurants in Chicago and nationwide, including Casa La Femme North in New York, J Six in the Hotel Solamar in San Diego and Restaurant RM in Las Vegas.

“… most of the diners who request the “snugs” at McCormick & Schmick’s on the Gold Coast are business people. “They like the quiet feeling of the room,” says General Manager Keith Jones Sr. McCormick & Schmick’s has incorporated nine snugs into every one of its 54 restaurants nationwide”

link: “Exclusive look at hidden tables” by Shia Kapos (Crain’s Chicago Business, Jun. 6, 2005)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system is a perfect complement to secluded booths and semi-private dining. Diners receive the privacy they want, and can discreetly signal for assistance using WaiterBell when they need it.

Article: “An outside chance – Dining alfresco can transform even a simple meal into a memory…weather permitting, of course” (Mar.2006)

excerpt:
"Sitting outside, enjoying the sun's warmth or a gentle breeze, is enough to make time stand still. What would be a quick meal on a weekday can become a lazy Sunday afternoon when the weather's just right. You tell your server, "Yes, I will have another drink. Something to munch on, too."

"When the weather is good, then people do want to be outside," says Beeson, who is hunting for a band to play on the porch Sunday afternoons. "People eating outside are more prone to linger."

"When the weather's cooperating, "our inside will be empty and our whole patio (full)," says Arturo Coronel, a manager at the restaurant."

link: "An Outside Chance" by Mary Vuong (Houston Chronicle, Mar. 15, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system is effective inside restaurants, however some restaurant owners seem to be more receptive of the concept for their outdoor dining spaces. Since the weather is getting warmer, we will focus marketing the WaiterBell system to restaurants with outdoor dining and patio dining. Similar to providing heat lamps for patrons choosing to eat outdoors, restaurants can provide the WaiterBell system to provide outdoor diners a discreet and easy way to signal the waitstaff inside.