How Valet Parking Increases Restaurant Revenue
Once considered one of the many perks of dining in exclusive restaurants serving only the most affluent patrons, valet parking has become increasingly available at a wide variety of restaurants.
Restaurants that provide valet parking do so for many reasons, only one of which is to cater to an exclusive clientele. If your establishment already offers valet services, you are familiar with all of the benefits of this service. Your patrons enter your dining room relaxed and ready to enjoy their evening rather than being frustrated by a long walk due to less than optimal parking or inclement weather.
Although this simple service provides a much more relaxing dining experience for your customers, there are some additional ways that valet attendants can contribute to increasing your restaurant’s overall revenue.
Your valet team is truly the first point of contact for your restaurant. Their knowledge of your restaurant and its menu should be on par with that of your dining room host and wait staff. Your valet staff should be included in your pre-service meeting so that they know of any potential challenges to the night’s service, such as a large party, an unexpectedly understaffed kitchen or the arrival of an important guest.
Restaurant managers would be surprised to hear how often questions about the menu arise during a valet’s evening. One would think that in the few seconds that it takes for a patron to arrive, hand the valet their keys and accept their ticket, there wouldn’t be enough time for conversation. However, in those few seconds of pleasantries, a surprising number of diners ask their valet about the menu.
Although the blanket positive response of a valet who has never tasted the food is sufficient, including your valet team in pre-service tasting as equal members of the front-of-house staff can significantly increase revenue.
Restaurant customers often ask valets a variety of questions in the hope of getting insider information. Customers often assume that the training their valet receives doesn’t include menu training, so they believe they will get a more authentic opinion regarding your popular menu items.
Rather than vaguely confirming that your restaurant’s signature dish is excellent when an arriving customer asks, your valet can remark about the perfect balance of flavors in the dish, the spiciness of the sauce or the tenderness of the meat. They can also point out that all of your produce is locally sourced, or recommend a side dish or dessert that the kitchen has asked the wait staff to push.
In addition to increasing menu item interest, keeping your valet parking staff advised of any challenges throughout the evening can help slow the dining room when unexpected delays occur in the kitchen.
A well-trained valet attendant can delay the flow of customers to the host stand simply by engaging customers in a pleasant exchange of a few sentences by remarking about the weather or admiring their vehicle.
When arriving customers ask the parking staff for recommendations during a challenging service, your valet can recommend menu items that take some stress off the kitchen. Raving about a signature cocktail at the bar can also take a few minutes of pressure off the dining room, giving the kitchen a chance to catch up.
Valet parking isn’t just a perk for patrons of well-established restaurants. New and up-and-coming restaurants can experience an increase in customers by providing valet parking services. When you open a new restaurant, your location may be smaller than you had hoped or the parking may be less than ideal. If potential patrons know the challenges of finding parking near your location, even the most enticing menu with the most delicious food may not be enough to bring in customers.
Providing valet parking to patrons of a new restaurant not only increases the likelihood of a customer spontaneously deciding to give your menu a try but also increases your curb appeal and elevates your brand. If you’re the only restaurant in the neighborhood providing valet services, patrons may decide to try your new menu simply because leaving their car with a valet allows them to have a more relaxing evening.
If your restaurant specializes in food that might not be familiar to your customers, well-trained valets who know your menu will be able to explain a bit about your menu’s origins, as well as recommend their favorite dishes. If your restaurant is competing in a popular niche, valets who can testify that your signature dish truly is better than the same dish at the more established restaurant down the road can increase your revenue substantially.
Even established restaurants with loyal clientele can increase their revenue by providing valet services. If you’ve been a popular restaurant for many years, you’ve probably seen the same couples come in as first dates, then young marrieds, and then only occasionally for anniversaries or birthdays. Busy with careers and family, they may not have the time to visit your restaurant as much as they’d like. Providing valet parking can give them an incentive to enjoy a relaxing evening away from their daily lives.
Restaurants in suburban malls with large parking lots often have surprising difficulties with providing enough parking for their patrons. Popular shopping centers often have a variety of different shops and restaurants, as well as entertainment and leisure spaces. Your steak house may be competing for parking spaces with a bar and grill, a pizza joint and a coffee shop. Add a video game store, a book shop and a craft store, and parking can become a real headache.
Joining forces with the owners and managers who share your parking lot can increase the revenue of your restaurant, as well as the revenue and popularity of the entire shopping center. Providing central valet parking can benefit not only all of the restaurants in the center but can also become a source of recommendations and create a sense of community throughout the shopping center.
Whether your restaurant is an exclusive high-end bistro or a local neighborhood favorite, providing a well-trained valet parking staff can have a significant positive impact on your bottom line.
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