Increase Your Table Turnover in 7 Easy Steps
Posted: Jan. 21, 2016
If you have a bustling restaurant, having faster table turnover is one of the best ways to increase both revenue and customer satisfaction. However, turning tables must be done tactfully. The last thing any restaurant should do is make the customer feel like they are being pushed out of their seat for the next guest. Instead, follow these hot tips to tastefully speed up the turnover time.
1. Train Servers to Greet Their Tables Immediately:
This turnover tactic should be like clockwork for your servers. Industry standards recommend that the server should get to a patron’s table within one minute of being seated. When the server initially comes to the table, drinks should be ordered. Within ten minutes of ordering the drinks, food should be ordered. This way, the restaurant is saving valuable minutes in which customers are just waiting for their server. Of course, this tactic is not an exact science. Many times, especially in finer dining establishments, customers enjoy chatting with one another prior to ordering. However, incentivizing your employees to make sure they are getting to the tables immediately will lead to a faster and more satisfying customer service experience.
2. Don’t Explain Menu to Repeat Guests:
A description of the restaurant concept and menu layout is great for first-time guests. It gives servers a way to showcase the best menu options and work on upselling in the process. However, if a customer has been to a restaurant before, retelling the entire restaurant spiel is inefficient, and sometimes, even annoying to customers. Instead, train your wait staff to save those precious minutes, by asking customers if they have visited before.
3. Assign Two or More Servers to Large Tables:
Parties of eight or more can be overwhelming for one server to handle. A server that feels stretched thin in these situations means slower ordering times and poorer customer service. Mitigate these negative situations by putting more than one server on large tables. This enables servers to be attentive to the customer’s needs, and that means a quicker dining process. Be sure to also train your staff to clear finished dishes throughout the meal as opposed to waiting until all guests have left the table. This will allows a quicker cleanup and turnover of the table and waiting guests can be seated sooner
4. Drop Off the Check Prior to the End of the Meal:
Training your servers to drop a check off prior to the end of the meal is a sure way to increase table turnover. During busy weekday lunches, many customers appreciate the urgency of their server dropping a check off early. Just be sure that you ask customers whether or not they’d like to order anything else, so you don’t risk losing revenue or leave your customers feeling like they are being rushed out of their seat.
5. Test Out New Technology:
In the technologically advanced times in which we live, gone are the days where employees must go to a stationary POS system to take orders and finalize payments. Instead, restaurants have the option of having mobile pay stations and tableside tablets for easy ordering. If you own a casual restaurant, opting for these electronic systems can help drastically increase efficiency by allowing servers to focus on other tasks. Popular casual establishments like Applebee’s and Chili’s have already begun using this technology.
6. Don’t Accept Reservations on Busiest Nights:
If your restaurant is consistently busy during Friday night dinner, giving diners the options to make reservations can cost your restaurant big in turnover rates and revenue. With a reservation system, tables are held for customers that may not show up on time at all. Instead of risking this cost to both time and revenue, keep your restaurant strictly “walk-in” during your busiest days.
7. Use Seating Software:
If your hostess manually assigns tables, you probably aren’t seating guests with maximum efficiency. Although on slower nights this may not seem like a huge issue, if your restaurant is busy, seating a small party at a large table can slow down the entire night. Instead, try seating software that aids in creating seating assignments based on your reservations and waitlist. In addition to increasing efficiency, many of these software programs will send mobile updates to customers letting them know when their table is ready.
Posted: Jan. 21, 2016 | Written By: Hannah Dietz