Tom Kerridge to overhaul reservations system to make Hand & Flowers ‘more accessible' to diners

21 December 2015 by
Tom Kerridge to overhaul reservations system to make Hand & Flowers ‘more accessible' to diners

Tom Kerridge is to introduce a new reservations system at the Hand & Flowers, his two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Marlow, in order to make it more accessible to diners.

The new system, which will be introduced in November 2016, will mean that guests will only be able to book a table up to three months in advance, as opposed to the current system which lets diners book a year in advance.

Kerridge said the change at the seven-day-a-week operation will "personalise" the existing system, and will enable guests to discuss availability with a member of the reservations team, who in turn will be able to offer a more "efficient, friendly and human service".

Since winning a second star in the 2012 Michelin guide, the Hand & Flowers, which won the Newcomer Catey in 2007, has been full. However, Kerridge felt the new approach would enable his team to offer a more intimate relationship with customers. "We'll be able to run a more personal service if we manage it over a 12-week period rather than a 52-week one.

"Jenny, my new reservations manager, and I want to humanise the reservations system. We've become the victims of our own success and to be honest I'm a bit uncomfortable with it. What we thought would originally be seen as being accessible - with no limit on how far in advance you could book - went bananas. So with today's system, if someone cancels their table for next August, we're then trying to promote a gap in reservations for next August. It's crazy. This system obviously looks at a shorter period of time, but it will be more fluid."

The presenter of BBC Two's Food & Drink, who opened his second pub, the Coach, in Marlow this time last year, said that the new system will be put in place from 1 November, when diners will be able to book for January 2017.

Kerridge added: "Why should people have to wait a year for a reservation - I've not even had to wait a year for my baby [due today]. I mean, is it really worth waiting 12 months for fish and chips?"

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