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January 02, 2009



What if you let them sit together, but treat them as separate tables for food purposes?

First the waiter takes the order of the four people on the Southern end of the table, then goes and puts that order in. Then the waiter (or a different waiter) takes the order of the people in the middle of the table, and goes and puts it in. Then the last third's orders are taken and put in, about the time the first group's apps are up.

I've been served this way in a group only once or twice, but it works much better. The main impediment is that people have to get over the ludicrous rule that you shouldn't eat until everyone has his food.


Or, explain to your large parties that guests at weddings never get to sit all at one table with the bride and groom, and still a good time is had.
Also, table-hopping is allowed. Change seats. But don't confuse your waiter. Go back to your original table when orders arrive.


How about asking the host to order some apps to share in advance? The guests all come, they sit down, you know what apps to fire, then the half hour ordering thing is just for the mains, which means you have the buffer of the apps to come first. You can say that its a way to make service go smoother and sharing food is always a great way to help everyone socialize. Although some might balk at this (especially if its a more formal affair), you can let them know that you're just helping to make sure the evening gets paced more smoothly and makes it a little unique.

Joe Fish

I like Jenny's idea, but I fear some may smell it as an upsell.

I've also had barzelay's experience (in Europe, never here) and it works marvelously. At a table that size, the person on one end has no idea what's going on at the other. Besides, it's so much easier for the kitchen to deal with three checks for 4 than one check for 12.

Charge Controller

I have been to dinner meetings when ten or twelve of us were there. A round table always worked for us. This was Chinese dining so we all shared the food. This would not work at your place I don't believe unless the folks were all having a Thanksgiving type dinner. You might suggest that.

Amy Lightholder

My concern in a large group is us all being able to hear each other. Four tables of four in an alcove (for instance) is fine. The problem in most restaurants is that unless you all have your seats close together you're drowned out by the ambient din.


I realize this is an old post, but I just found the blog and I have some input. We had a couple of things we did when dealing with large parties that were quite effective. First thing was, waters wre on the table before guests arrived, and bread went down as soon as most guests were seated. We would normally wait until after orders were taken, but it helped that the guests had SOMETHING in front of them while they chatted, perused etc, that took the edge off the hunger. For parties over people or so, we would use two people to take the food order, either another wiater or the manager. We would write the order on a chart of the table, with seat numbers, then transfer it to a dupe.(we were using carbons at that point)It made the dupe much cleaner for the kitchen. The chart was then given to the runner/expiditer, which helped a lot when dropping off the food. It also helped when, inevitably, they asked for seperate checks. Anyway, hope it helps. I have been out of the biz for sometime and am considering a return. Much of the pinful memories have faded over the years and I like you blog, it reminds me of the daily trauma. Keep it up..

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