John Brandt-Lee, chef-owner at Avalon Restaurant in West Chester, PA, faced a dilemma. Customers felt so comfortable at his intimate BYOB concept that they would settle in for the evening, limiting the revenue his 40 seats could generate. “We needed the tables to turn—but for customers not to feel as though we had dropped a check with their dessert,” he recalls. His answer was to adopt a small plates format. Food runners started hustling the antipasti items family ...

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