[Excerpt] Having the right-size tables in a position to be combined with other tables to serve large parties can yield additional revenue at virtually no added cost.
This article focuses on restaurants with walk-in customers (no reservations are taken), where a host or hostess seats the parties and where parties are seated separately. Restaurants of this kind are common in the United States (e.g., TGIF, Chili’s, Applebee’s). Specifically, this article examines the issue of which tables should be combinable with which other tables. “Combinability” is the ability to create a larger table from adjacent smaller tables. For example, combinability would allow two adjacent 4-top tables to be combined to seat parties of up eight people.’ In an earlier investigation I found that, in many cases, having tables dedicated to specific party sizes was preferable to having combinable tables.* The reason for this was that placing tables on hold, while waiting for customers to depart an adjacent table that can then be combined with the empty on-hold table, imposes a non-productive idle time for the on-hold tables.
Thompson, G. M. (2003). Optimizing restaurant-table configurations: Specifying combinable tables. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 44(1), 53-60. doi:10.1016/S0010-8804(02)80041-6