This is the story of my adventure on the other side of group sales. I was the group leader trying to book lunch for a group of kids.
Over the holiday weekend my daughter’s pee wee hockey team was in a tournament near Patriot Place. For those outside the Boston market, this is the New England Patriots version of City Walk or Downtown Disney. At Patriot Place they have shops, entertainment venues, and restaurants. We all agreed this would be a great place for the kids to have lunch after their game.
The kids wanted to go to Red Robin for burgers. So a week before the event I called them. The date of our event happened to be Black Friday. They informed me they could not book our group because they expected a big crowd. I received the same response from every other family restaurant also.
I sent an email to Red Robin explaining our situation. Guess what, they called and made it happen! Red Robin explained to me that they don’t normally book groups or take reservations. When we got there, they were ready for us at the exact time we asked for. The service staff was great! They had all 35 of us feed and out in one hour. That is very impressive with a group of 12 year old girls. The kids were happy and the parents only have good things to say for Red Robin. In the end, we had a good customer experience and I know they will get repeat customers from our group.
You should also know that Patriot Place management was very understanding and tried to help us too. They get it. They want groups coming to their place. They also tried contacting a few restaurants for us.
Here is what I don’t understand. Why would any organization turn down guaranteed business if they have the capacity? All of these restaurants had no idea how much business they would get on Black Friday. In fact the weather was really bad that day with heavy rain and chilly. This was predicted. Patriot Place is an outdoor area with indoor shops. As we walked around the area we saw how low the attendance was due to the weather. If you can book a group, does it not help you when the walk-up customers stay away? Is it not better to know what you have versus not knowing? Why are some people still afraid of group sales?