Through the spring of 2014 we took a look at why we were getting an increasing volume of negative comments or complaints about several issues relating to the “restaurant experience” we were providing. The comments came from both guests and staff alike and were directed at all areas of food and service. Things like food being delivered cold or taking too long to arrive at the table. The dining room being too loud or the service being too slow to refresh drinks or get the food order taken. The fact that the dining room felt cramped or as one guest put it “raucous and un-romantic”. The service staff was complaining that they were spending too much time at one table and not taking care of other guests. The kitchen was showing signs of stress as the food orders were coming in as huge waves and quality levels and ticket times were suffering due to this.
When we stood back and took a good look at this escalation of issues we realized that most of the problems revolved around the times we had scheduled a multitude of larger tables or groups dining with us. Those being tables of seven to thirty guests. It seemed that as Fredericksburg was rapidly gaining popularity as a destination for groups, our restaurant was as well. It was through this phenomenon that we began to realize that the type of service and cuisine we were know for delivering was suffering as a result of group activity during peak service periods. Simply put, it is hard to keep it romantic and fine dining when you are focusing on feeding too many people at one time.
We had to take a hard look at our business model.
No doubt, filling the dining room with groups was great for that particular day’s revenue but how did it help us accomplish our goal of providing a superior guests experience that would make someone want to return continually to the restaurant. It didn’t! We needed to focus directly on what made us such a popular restaurant to begin with. And that was serving top-notch unique Hill Country cuisine in a comfortable, casual and romantic nature paired with exceptional service. Servicing groups was simply not conducive to this goal.
We made a decision that we would no longer take groups of more than six guests during peak periods such as weekends, holidays and special events. This would allow us to really fine tune our product and create a more personal dining experience for our guests.
Knowing that our local clientele would still like to have special events, office parties and such we continue to offer group dining on weekdays when it is more manageable and there is more room in the restaurant for the groups to reside in without impacting our regular dining patrons.
As with any policy, we have had some detractors who are unhappy that we will not take groups during peak periods, and some have been very vocal in their response, be it in person, over the phone and on social media. We certainly apologize that we are not able to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but if we waivered from our decisions we would not be honest with ourselves and our other customers about our goals to provide one of the best dining experiences available in the Texas Hill Country. We hope you will agree and support our decision.
Owner, Executive Chef