Six Strategies to Improve Restaurant Efficiency

Restaurant efficiency is the key to making a profit in an industry with thin margins and fierce competition. Inefficient restaurants are usually the result of a combination of, if not, all of the following factors:

  • Bad stock management and rotation

  • Untrained and unmotivated staff

  • Inefficient management of staff

  • No realistic table management

This guide sets out six tips for improving your restaurant efficiency that can be implemented immediately and cheaper to your pocket.

There is a direct correlation between customer service level and staff training. The better trained your staff is, the more likely they will be highly motivated and efficient at their jobs. This positively affects team morale, staff loyalty, and restaurant efficiency. You will then have a capable team that consistently delivers unbeatable levels of customer service.

This rarely happens on its own. Management has to provide training that matches the level of excellence they wish to deliver to their diners. 

Staff members should be encouraged to be innovative and need to be empowered to deal with customer complaints on their own without being micromanaged. That boils down to employing well-trained and motivated staff who know what, what and how to do it.

There is plenty to think about when managing a restaurant. Issues often arise at the busiest times. Staff training, therefore, needs to include teaching individuals to communicate swiftly, clearly, and confidently with other team members when orders go wrong, or other problems occur.

Similarly, each team must be aligned toward a common purpose if they want restaurant efficiency to reach and stay at its zenith. 

The core teams that need to appreciate and cooperate are the front-of-house waiting teams, the bar staff, and the kitchen team. Regular staff meetings will ensure that everybody is working toward the same agenda.

The old maxim to “under promise and over deliver” is relevant to the hospitality industry. The last thing you want to do is promise customers delivery times that you have no chance of delivering.

Here are some key tips you should have on top of your mind:

  • Factor in accurate food preparation and cooking timings to avoid letting down your diners.

  • Remember that diners may want to socialize at the table once their meals are finished. That may keep the table occupied for longer than you thought. Be conscious of this when taking reservations.

Thoughtful table planning combined with realistic timings on food delivery from the kitchen is needed to estimate how long each table sitting will probably take. Diners are then informed and happy while fully utilizing the tables you have. This will aid you in delivering an enjoyable dining experience and help you retain customer loyalty.

The LEAST acronym is helpful to follow when dealing with complaints or issues:

  • Listen: Actively listen to what the customer has to say and pinpoint what the real problem is. Allow customers to express themselves.

  • Empathize: Once you know what is wrong, you should think about how you would feel if you were in the customer’s place. 

  • Apologize: Once the customer has finished their complaint, you should NOT offer excuses or reasoning, simply apologize for what went wrong.

  • Solve: Resolve the issue to the best of your abilities. Ask the customer what would resolve the issue to their satisfaction.

  • Thank: Let the customer know that although an issue occurred, you are still very happy that they dined with you, and you would welcome their return

Mistakes and issues are bound to happen in a busy restaurant environment, even if it is well managed. As a business that relies on great reviews, word of mouth, and repeat customers, you need to handle issues and complaints professionally.

A lot of useful technology is already being used to boost restaurant efficiency. Technological solutions can speed up service, reduce mistakes, and help you keep track of what is happening. Managers can then examine useful metrics to improve service. For example, you can review food-to-table delivery times, the number of bookings and diners, or itemized food and drink sales figures.

To improve your restaurant operations, consider if you can afford:

  • An omnichannel contact center to manage all customer conversations.

  • Digital ordering systems for eating-in or takeout.

  • Electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) terminals that send new checks straight through to the kitchen. You can track the food or drink journey from ordering to delivery on a management screen.

  • Tablets to manage restaurant bookings for maitre d' or front-of-house staff.

  • Inventory management software to minimize stock loss, wastage, or theft.

  • Employee training software for onboarding and ensuring consistent training standards.

Ensure that Your Restaurant Is Clean and Sanitary

Your level of hygiene will affect the perception customers have of your restaurant so this definitely should be your top-most priority. An exceptionally clean and hygienic restaurant puts a diner’s mind at ease that this is a restaurant that knows what they are doing and mainitains the highest of standards.

Tidy premises can affect a picky diner’s reviews of your restaurant and even the level of tipping towards staff. It also prevents unnecessary deep cleaning at awkward times of the year, keeping your staffs’ productivity and morale at higher levels.

Clean and tidy premises and health and safety usually go hand-in-hand in the restaurant trade. That means less room for accidents caused by slipping or tripping, burns in disorganized kitchens, food poisoning, or food wastage.