Table spacing is important for determining cash flow, occupancy, and customer satisfaction and is especially important in fast casual and fine dining restaurants.
Below, we’ll explain the different factors to consider, such as pros and cons. We’ll also talk about how close is too close for comfort in most restaurants.
What is table spacing in restaurants?
Table spacing in restaurants is the practice of allowing enough room between seating arrangements to ensure that customers are properly distanced and feel comfortable.
This can mean leaving a single chair empty between tables, leaving a larger gap for larger parties, or increasing the spacing even further to account for social distancing.
It’s also important to consider how much space each table needs around it for waiters to move quickly and efficiently throughout the restaurant.
Table spacing, therefore, helps restaurants maintain their maximum customer capacity while still ensuring the safety and comfort of all diners.
How table spacing impacts profitability in restaurants
Table spacing plays an important role in restaurant profitability, but every arrangement comes with both pros and cons.
Here are some things to consider:
The pros of placing tables close together
When restaurants have more tables, they generate more revenue from seating higher numbers of patrons.
With tighter table spacing, wait staff can quickly and effectively navigate the floor, ensuring that all guests receive prompt service. Restaurants are also able to reduce labor costs by maximizing table space for staff members to cover more tables with fewer people.
Furthermore, providing tight table spacing can also help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty as it creates an inviting atmosphere and encourages conversation among customers.
However, spacing tables too close together can negatively affect the customer experience, even in the post-pandemic era.
The cons of placing tables close together
Restaurants that place their tables too close together can have a negative impact on customers. Patrons are often put in the uncomfortable position of being forced to sit so close to strangers that their conversations become uncomfortably audible.
Furthermore, if the space between tables is too tight, it can be difficult for waitstaff to move around freely. This makes it harder for them to provide timely service and may even lead to spills and messes on guests’ clothing.
Finally, sitting too close to other diners can also make it difficult for groups of people seated at different tables to hold private conversations, as all words spoken will be heard by everyone nearby. Thus, when restaurants don’t leave enough space between their tables it creates an awkward atmosphere for diners and makes it more difficult for waitstaff to do their jobs effectively.
Ultimately, it is important for restaurants to strike a balance between maximizing their profits and creating a comfortable atmosphere for customers; having the right amount of table spacing can help achieve both goals.
Other table spacing considerations for restaurants
When it comes to table spacing, there are many considerations that go beyond just the distance between tables.
For instance, when considering seating arrangements, booths can provide a more intimate experience for groups of four or six people.
In general, round tables can also provide an ideal setting for conversations as everyone is facing each other and it is easier for people to interact with each other.
Square tables, on the other hand, may need to be angled slightly to create an inviting atmosphere which allows guests to see their neighbor’s faces and converse more naturally.
In fact, table shape, size, and distance are all important elements to consider when decorating a restaurant. Depending on the type of restaurant you’re running, the tables should be chosen with care.
For example, an elegant fine dining establishment might prefer larger tables with more space between them to give off a luxurious feel. For a fast-casual restaurant setting, smaller tables that can seat more people quickly would be preferable.
Restaurant table spacing and profitability: is 3ish feet the magic number?
Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. If you’re interested in the topic, we suggest reading Stephani Robson and Sheryl Kimes report titled Don’t Sit So Close to Me: Restaurant Table Characteristics and Guest Satisfaction.
The findings of their report suggest that not only should customers be seated at right-sized tables for the restaurant, but that when the distance between tables is less than three feet, both satisfaction and spending are decreased.
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