“Our primary focus is our food. That is what people come here for,” said Carolyn Boss, national group sales manager for Golden Corral. “A close second is hospitality. When a group goes to a restaurant, they want to feel welcome and warm and feel like their business is important.
“We provide what is important to them — hot food that is hot, cold food that is cold and a place to enjoy the next hour before they get back on the road.”
Boss said it makes good business sense. “When you make 50 people satisfied, they go out all over the country to find other Golden Corrals.”
Golden Corral has 482 restaurants in 43 states, including Alaska.
There is an online reservation system for groups and consistent nationwide group pricing. “With the dollar so competitive, you have to have consistency going into multiple markets,” said Boss.
“We also have a motorcoach certification that is a standard of excellence and a level of expectation that corporate has for guest satisfaction.”
The company leaves some discretion to its local managers. “We suggest they get on the coach and greet groups, but that is hard to do,” Boss said. “When you are dealing with people eating, all they want to do is get off the bus as quickly as possible.
“We leave seating up to store management. Sometimes they will reserve a room, sometimes it is open seating. We have found that bus groups often don’t want to be seated together. They have been on the bus together for the last five hours, so they don’t have to eat together.
“Open seating is a new demand, and we are perfect for that.”
“The adult group market, specifically the motorcoach group, is extremely important to Shoney’s Restaurants,” said Damon Davoudpour, manager of corporate marketing.
“Our restaurants can easily accommodate large groups as our focus is on quality, speed of service and value — three elements that are key to large groups.
“Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, our daily food bar makes accommodating large groups extremely easy.”
Shoney’s has 220 restaurants in 18 states.
Davoudpour said groups of 15 or more receive a 10 percent discount, but that is bumped to 15 percent if they give the restaurant 24-hour advance notice. The driver and group leader are free.
“Also, our parking lots are bus friendly, and we’re open seven days a week, including just about every holiday,” said Davoudpour.
“We also have an online registration form that makes making reservations even easier. There is also an online map for them to use.”