Take a look at social media and hashtags like #Brunching or #BrunchLife and you’ll see that Londoners love going out for Saturday or Sunday brunch. For restaurants this means brunch is a great opportunity to add this profitable meal service time to your existing offerings and bottomless brunch is a way to differentiate your brunch service from nearby restaurants. OpenTable interviews Brett Duarte and Giulia Palasso from Comedor.
At Comedor in Canonbury, their bottomless brunch is a chance to showcase the Argentinian steakhouse menu of small plates and their cocktails that have a Latin American twist. “Brunch is a lot of fun in the dining room because the atmosphere is different and less formal,” says Brett Duarte, Comedor’s operations director and executive chef. “We want people to come in and have a good time.” The menu includes typical brunch items like poached eggs with hollandaise and an option for guests to add unlimited sangria, pisco sours, mimosas or Bloody Marys to their meal for £15.00.
At The Refinery Regents Place, general manager Giulia Palasso runs the busy brunch service serving classic British breakfast fare and an option for bottomless bellinis or Bloody Mary’s. “The atmosphere is really cool and on nice days we’ll open our large terrace and play music that helps set the vibe,” she says. Guests at The Refinery have two hours at their table to enjoy their bottomless beverages.
Brunch can be a fun way to offer your diners something a little different than they would usually get at dinner or lunch service but it comes with its challenges. Below, Duarte and Palassa share their tips on how to run a bottomless brunch service effectively.
Choose Cocktails Wisely
Sure, you want to show off your restaurant’s really good cocktails but you don’t want to make them too complicated. “Now is not the time for a twenty ingredient cocktail,” laughs Duarte. It’s about ease of service and making sure that guests can get their cocktails quickly to really feel like they’re getting a value. “You want to balance creating bespoke cocktails with quick cocktails.” Comedor’s Bloody Mary with chimichurri sauce is a quick pick up for the bar that still has a signature touch, he says.
Make Sure Everyone is Set Up Ahead of Time
Like any service you want to make sure that your servers and kitchen are all set up but brunch can be even more hectic so you need to be absolutely sure that you have all of the drink prep done and waiting at the proper stations. “The speed of a bottomless brunch service is crazy so if cocktails can be pre-batched, we’ll do that,” Palassa says. “It’s about being as prepared as possible.” Garnishes can be set up ahead as well for servers to finish before bringing a drink to the table.
Empower Your Servers to Step In If Guests Have Had Too Much
Both Palassa and Duarte say that while it’s rare, some guests do have one too many drinks and need to be cut off. “If we have to cut people off we’ll say, ‘We’d like you to have some food and then once you’ve done that we can serve you again’,” Duarte explains. Having guests take a break from the free flowing beverages to have something to eat can help sober them up. You can also offer coffee or tea. “It doesn’t happen very often but my team is trained to keep an eye out for that during service.” Having a time limit like The Refinery can also help cut down on guests overindulging.
Make Sure You Can Deliver
If you run out of mimosas during a bottomless brunch service, you’ve probably lost that group of guests forever. “Make sure you can actually deliver and give what you’re offering,” says Duarte. Before Comedor introduced bottomless brunch they did a lot of testing with their team to make sure that they could handle the new task of offering unlimited beverages quickly. “We wanted to make sure they could handle getting people refilled,” he explains. Make sure that you’ve ordered enough ingredients for cocktails to serve people 3-4 drinks. Speaking of staff, make sure that you have enough team members scheduled to take care of all of the guests and their drink orders. “You want to ensure that there’s enough staff on for that shift since demand is high, “ Pelassa says.