5 min read

VIP for All: An Ex- GMs Take on Democratizing the Dining Experience

Published on
June 24, 2024


Having spent over 15 years in the hospitality industry, I've seen firsthand how the concept of "VIP" can be both exciting and limiting. We all love the thrill of rolling out the red carpet for special guests, but I've also felt the frustration of knowing there were "silent VIPs" in the dining room – guests who deserved that same level of attention but hadn't yet earned their "regular" status or perhaps weren't as...vocal...about their preferences as others.

These silent VIPs are the hidden gems in your dining room. They might not have a history of high spending, but they're willing to invest in an exceptional experience if given the opportunity. 

Which leads me to questions - why do we obsess over meticulously pairing the perfect wine with a dish, yet leave something as crucial as seating to chance? Why do we prioritize some guests over others when everyone deserves a memorable experience?

Research shows that a staggering 71% of consumers feel frustrated when their experiences are impersonal. At Tablz, we're turning this frustration into opportunity. 

The Problem with Traditional VIP Identification

Many restaurants rely on a limited set of criteria for identifying VIPs – past spending, frequency of visits, or even just knowing the right person. This approach is outdated.  

It was a constant source of frustration in my restaurant days. The guests who were most comfortable making their requests known – the ones who might raise their voice a bit or ask for special treatment – always seemed to snag the best tables. 

Meanwhile, other diners – perhaps those on a first visit, celebrating a special occasion, or simply less inclined to be vocal – were left to the luck of the draw with the reservation system. This felt inherently unfair. More importantly, it wasn't a strategic way to build lasting relationships with valuable guests. After all, those quieter diners might be just as likely – or even more likely – to become loyal patrons if they were given a chance to experience the best the restaurant had to offer.

Embracing the Essence of Hospitality

Drawing inspiration from industry leader Will Guidara and his philosophy of "Unreasonable Hospitality: The remarkable power of giving people more than they expect," I strongly believe that majority of hospitality operators embrace the notion of generosity, unexpected gestures, and personal connections. Guidara teaches us that every guest interaction is an opportunity to exceed expectations, regardless of their status or spending history. While the ideal of going above and beyond for every guest is inspiring, we understand the practical challenges that operators face—time constraints, limited resources, and financial considerations can make it overwhelming.

At Tablz, we strive to bridge the gap by empowering operators to seamlessly streamline guest requests and manage enhancements. Our platform alleviates stress by enabling efficient handling of guest preferences and seating requests. This ensures smoother operations and elevates the overall guest experience, allowing every diner to feel like a VIP without placing additional burdens on restaurant staff.

Introducing a New Category: Guest Fulfillment 

Tablz flips the script on outdated VIP identification by pionnering a new category of guest fulfillment. Instead of leaving it to the restaurant to decide who qualifies, we empower guests to self-identify and choose upgrades that resonate with them. Whether it's securing a preferred table or enjoying personalized touches, every guest deserves to feel like a VIP, regardless of their spending history or social status.

The Benefits of Democratizing the Dining Room

  • Unleash Your Inner VIP: You're not just choosing a table, you're crafting a personalized experience that matches your exact preferences and desires.
  • Celebrate on Your Terms: Special occasions become even more special when you have the power to design the perfect setting.
  • Discover Hidden Gems: Explore unique offerings and upgrades you might not have known were available.
  • Boost Revenue: Guests are often willing to invest in upgrades that enhance their overall experience, leading to increased spending.
  • Unlock Guest Insights: Learn what truly matters to your customers, allowing you to refine your offerings. 
  • Seamless Operations: By empowering guests to choose their upgrades in advance, your team avoids misaligned seating expectations that can often start a dining experience on the wrong track. This leads to smoother service and happier customers.

Tablz seamlessly integrates with existing restaurant reservation systems, enabling guests to easily indicate their preferences and desired seating upgrades. Our innovative 3D restaurant walk-through feature allows guests to explore and select their preferred table in advance, enhancing their overall dining experience. Combine the capabilities of your reservation management system with Tablz’s guest fulfillment to elevate your restaurant's guest experience and drive profitability.

Most importantly, this approach creates a more inclusive and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone. Guests feel valued and appreciated, and restaurants build stronger relationships with their clientele.

Making Every Guest Feel Special

So, are there silent VIPs in your dining room? Absolutely. But with Tablz, they don't have to stay silent anymore. We give them a voice and a way to express their desire for an elevated experience.

We're democratizing the dining room, one table at a time. Because in the end, the best table in the house is the one where a guest feels truly seen, heard, and valued.

Visit our homepage to learn more and discover how Tablz can become an extension of your hospitality ethos, enriching every guest's experience.

Kristina Vukoje
Business Development Manager
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