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The most lucrative restaurants understand what business diners value and identify ways to attract them
<p>The most lucrative restaurants understand what business diners value and identify ways to attract them.</p>

How to invite more business diners to your tables

Editor&rsquo;s note: This is the third in a three-part series by Restaurant Hospitality examining the state of business dining in the U.S. EARLIER: &bull; Return of the Corporate Card: Restaurants enjoy the boost &bull; What do business diners value in a restaurant? &bull; See more Consumer Trends

It’s no secret business diners have more discretion with their spending, making them an important niche of your customer segment. Paying attention to subtle details can boost an operator's success courting this group. Restaurants that do well with the business crowd understand what business diners value and, in turn, identify ways to attract more of them:

Amir Vahdani, food and beverage director

Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, CA

“Focus on the right setting, offering a high quality product and committing to great service that is nonintrusive but still extremely attentive and knowledgeable. We have a training manager to focus on the latter to constantly provide guidance to our team.”

Pete Sittnick, managing partner

Waterbar and Epic Roasthouse, San Francisco

“Word-of-mouth reputation is the best way to enhance and entice more business diners. Visiting the business concierges and executive assistants and developing those relationships helps.”

Chris Bisaillon, c.e.o. of Bottleneck Management

South Branch Tavern and Grille, Chicago

“Restaurants should ask themselves the following questions to attract more business diners: Is the ambiance appropriate? Are the lighting and sound set perfectly for the time of the day? Does the menu lend itself well to business dining?

“We have plenty of availability early and late in the lunch time frame, but generally ‘close off’ the prime lunch hour between 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. in order to accommodate those who need to be assured of a table and are on a tight time frame. By securing diners to an earlier or later reservation time, we are able to avoid “bad optics” for our ample walk-in business. By bad optics, we mean the idea of business diners waiting 30 minutes for a table when they can see empty tables in the dining room. The “closing off” tactic gives us the opportunity to accommodate walk-ins.”

Adam Jones, owner

Grace, Fort Worth, TX

“By being one of the best operators/operations in your market." Do that, he says,luc and word will spread about your "great private rooms and an accommodating main dining room with a talented chef producing top-notch fare with a wine cellar to match.”

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