Per usual, I ended up working this past Easter holiday. At the Danversport Yacht Club, they put on a great Easter brunch & sit down dinner every year. This year, I'm pretty sure it was one of the largest turnouts they have ever had (which is great, considering the economy)! I was fortunate enough to be a hostess and figure out seating arrangements and making sure that tables got flipped as soon as possible, as opposed to busting my butt waitressing like most years.
This year, for the first time on any holiday, we got to open up the Ballroom patio for extra seating. It was a gorgeous day--about 78 degrees with a nice breeze that wasn't too strong since we're on the river. There were two tables for 12, a table for 10, three tables for 8 and ten tables for 4. We were confident it was going to be a popular day to want to sit outside to enjoy the Easter brunch. Here is one of many views from the porch:
As the day got busier around noon time--once people were done with church and lunch rolled around--the weather was at its peak. But everyone we asked if they'd want to sit outside gave a quick and firm "NO!" which took us all by surprise. After banking on people wanting to sit outside, we ended up having a lot of the following conversations:
Customer--"Hi, I had a reservation for 5 at 12:30pm, the name is XXXX"
Danversport--"Thank you. Would you like to sit inside or outside this afternoon? We have some gorgeous seating..."
Customer--"...No, not outside. Definitely inside. I have my small children/grandmother here and we can not sit outside."
Danversport--"Ok, then the wait is going to be about 30 or 45 minutes"
Customer--"That is unacceptable. I have reservations."
Danversport--"I'm sorry, we can seat you immediately outside, or it will be a wait."
Customer angrily storms away to discuss with family, and decides to wait.
I personally find it frustrating to walk into a restaurant with a reservation and have to wait that long. Five or 10 minutes, sure, I can understand that. But 30 or 45 minutes? I agree, that is pretty unacceptable.
Lesson learned from the day:
Do NOT plan on people wanting to go potentially out of their comfort zone and experience something they're not used to, or that they have not planned for--outdoor dining. This is where the problem was--more reservations were accepted because we had the extra seating...but it turned out no one wanted that extra seating. So, have it there as a nice add-on and surprise, but don't count on it.
Thankfully, the Easter bunny was hopping around to keep the children entertained: