VDay seating

Joined Apr 24, 2011
Hi everyone,

I have a 38 seat restaurant with a tiny kitchen. With all the expertise here i was wondering if i can get suggestions on how to do resos and seatings for valentines day. My staff has all different opinions on the matter, i was wondering if i can get some help on here?

Joined Jun 27, 2012
2-3 seatings (early, mid and late) with a sexy 4 course prix fixe menu... maybe a gratis glass of sparkly wine or show the menu to your wine purveyor and see what kind of deal you can get for a few cases then turn around and offer per carafe at an attractive price.

If you are well organized and find the staffing to be a bit bloated.... put everyone's name in a hat and draw for a nite off.


If you choose to have 3 seatings make sure the dish pit is well staffed....

Last edited:
Joined Aug 21, 2004
When do you open and what time do you stop seating? What is your average turn time? Of the 38 seats, how many 4 tops, how many deuces, etc.? Is the menu pre-fixe and if so, how many courses? How many people work the line?


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
@whiskytango  I am not sure your question is clear. When you say suggestions on reservations and seating could you be more specific. For example with reservations are you looking for help with how many you can handle? How many times you should turn the tables in X hours?
Joined Feb 13, 2013
I'm not really privy as to how FOH handles our reservations for Valentines Day but we do a lot of covers and quickly. We can seat 110 people in the dining room, 15 in the library plus whatever room service orders we get. Reservations start at 5:00 (30 minutes earlier than normal) and we take our last reservations and potential walk-ins at 10:30. We stagger the reservations like any regular service, how much time they allow for each table is unbeknownst to be. We do no have timed seatings (like 5, 7 or 9) in any event, having a wave of customers at once isn't efficient for us. Kitchen can get the food out pretty fast on big holidays like Valentines, but what really decides how quickly and how many customers we do is unfortunately how FOH performs and it's usually lagging.

In any case having your game plan for Valentines Day is essential. We do not play around on our big holidays. Our slower line cooks will not be working the line that night, they'll be doing prep instead. I will work meat station which is the hardest, our fastest fish guy will be working poissonnier and two people will be on garde manger. The head chef will be on expo and chef de cuisine will be floating, usually bailing out garde manger or fetching mise from the walk-ins. 5 appetizers, 5 entrees and 4 desserts starting on Friday and going through to Valentines. Steaks will be tempered at room temperature and ready to go, staff meal will be made the day before and simply reheated (like a shepherd's pie or something), amuse is no frills and plated with no garnishes like a gougere with a fancy cheese, no sorbet or anything between courses and we may even bain marie the soup although we try not to. Making things as streamlined as possible without sacrificing quality is the goal.
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