After working in multiple restaurants in many job descriptions, there are so many differences and similarities but one thing is always shared everywhere and that is efficiency. It’s true some restaurants are more efficient than others and that really shows in everything. Efficiency affects how nice it is even to work in the restaurant, customers will be happier, and the restaurant itself will make a lot more money if efficiency is well handled. But how do you improve efficiency if there are some aspects that could use some improvement?
Restaurant efficiency can be improved by an organization, communication, speed, and trust. Efficiency will get improved even further if the cooperation between management, kitchen workers, and front of house workers work well.
There are many things to improve in each of the mentioned categories so you don’t need to rely on fixing it on your own, because in this article you will learn convenient tips & tricks on how you can improve restaurants efficiency, and I’ll even throw in the examples so it will be of the most helpful for you.
Hire the right employees
Everything starts from having the right employees. It’s important to hire the best people for your restaurant. This will make sure customers are happy and satisfied with what they’re eating and how they are served, which is essential in order to improve efficiency at restaurants.
There are many agencies where you can book workers and they are fine to use if someone calls in sick or there is higher demand than anticipated, you can get a worker from there really quickly. However, you should invest more time and effort for the full-time employees at your restaurant because they are the ones which will stay and know all the tricks and things that the employee from the agency simply can’t know. Don’t be discouraged by agencies there are lots of great workers there as well and I personally first was working through an agency when I was in culinary school and got my first real job through them but the reality is that there are fewer competent workers there.
You can make job advertisements with more specific descriptions through agencies and you can also specify your needs for the position that would be better suited to people who are already well in the restaurant business.
You should put a lot of emphasis on interviews as well because they will help determine if someone is the right fit or not, it’s worth investing time into interviewing properly.
Communication between restaurant’s teams
If you want to drastically improve the restaurant’s efficiency there needs to be proper communication between managers, chefs, and servers.
For example, if you are the manager and want to order the next week’s food for your restaurant, then there needs to be clear communication and collaboration with chefs who will cook it. The same steps hold with waiters and drinks. This is just one way that great communication can help improve efficiency in restaurants so think about what other ways you could communicate better and start by looking at the aspects where you have poor communication.
Another example of a place where communication needs improvement could lie within how well the wait staff communicates with the chefs. If the wait staff is telling chefs that a customer wants something specific, then there needs to be clear communication with what they want. Both the wait staff and chefs have a responsibility to make sure that customer requests are fulfilled as accurately and efficiently for both the customer and the restaurant.
Arrange pre-shift staff meetings
The pre-shift meetings are a great opportunity for everyone on the team to collaborate and plan together. They can be done by splitting up into different departments (such as dishwasher, cook line, and waiters) or everyone in one group so they all have an idea of what is coming their way that day.
Whether you choose departments or meetings as one group, it will greatly depend on the size of the restaurant however if the restaurant isn’t huge, then I would recommend having the pre-shift meeting as one.
I find it very helpful when I am able to get feedback from my co-workers on how we are doing during our meetings because then you know where your weaknesses lie since there will always be someone who knows more about certain aspects than others do, and vice versa. When these conversations happen between coworkers with input given back out freely without feeling like people are attacking you personally if things don’t go well, this helps create awareness which leads to efficiency within each department. It also builds relationships amongst team members giving them reasons to be committed to their work.
Organize everything in the restaurant
This one doesn’t come as a surprise I assume, however it is one of the most important parts regarding efficiency in a restaurant. The organization is key to avoid distractions and find things on time.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me where something was in the kitchen, I would have enough money to start my own restaurant.
It’s important that everything in the kitchen, bar, and dining room is organized by type or whatever fits into your restaurant so that we can find it quickly if somebody needs something.
Learn all about organizing: 25 Incredible Tips For Commercial Restaurant Organization
Keep the kitchen clean
Cleanliness will drastically improve efficiency in many ways. First of all, it is a cleaner environment to work in without food pieces or empty bags lying all around and confusing the workers. Secondly, the likelihood that we will make mistakes and errors decrease by having everything clean with no mess or dirt on any surface if possible.
If you’re reading this post I assume your restaurant has already been through an inspection which means there would be less chance for food contamination as well because surfaces would be clean from germs and bacteria.
Cleanliness will also make customers more likely to return because the sanitary environment makes them feel a sense of safety, security, and quality when they eat in your restaurant. As we can see there are many factors in cleanliness that will improve efficiency and as a bonus, it will keep customers coming back and the health inspectors away.
Remove unnecessary tasks
All who work in the restaurant business know the huge amount of different tasks at hand. Some tasks are necessary to complete while others not so much.
It’s important that the workers know which one is needed and what isn’t in order for them not to get distracted by unnecessary work. There is a saying that 20% of the work makes 80% of the results which I’m not quite sure applies fully to restaurant work, but it certainly is something close to those numbers!
Monitor the workdays in the restaurant and see which tasks aren’t important nearly at all so you can focus more on the important ones and the efficiency will skyrocket from there!
Motivate restaurant’s staff
Motivating your staff is a crucial part of restaurant efficiency because keeping the staff motivated and happy will not only make them want to come in every day, but it’ll keep their mood up while they’re at work which is a pleasant experience for the customers and coworkers!
Motivated employees will work more efficiently and at a faster pace while having more fun doing so! The restaurant can show appreciation for their staff in various ways such as giving them praise, compliments, and other incentives.
The secrets of motivation: 17 Proven Ways That WILL Motivate Restaurant’s Employees
Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses
Understanding your and other’s strengths and weaknesses is a valuable skill that will help the restaurant stay efficient. This way, you can make sure that everyone is fulfilling their role to its fullest potential and contributing in a positive manner.
The best thing about this skill set is that if someone has weaknesses that could be easily fixed, they’ll feel more motivated than ever before while working on improving them. This will allow for increased efficiency and helpfulness for the restaurant and an improved skill set for the whole team.
You want to be sure that all staff members know their place in the company’s hierarchy. This will ensure that no one feels like they are being overworked or undervalued, and things should instead be determined by what each individual can do at any given time! If this is followed correctly, your employees will not only function better but also feel happy too!
Reduce human errors
In the modern day’s world, we can use technology to increase efficiency in a restaurant and the perfect tool for that is a POS system which can do wonderful things and I have listed some great examples below.
First, a POS system can be used to track employee hours in a more accurate way than manual tracking. Not only will this create less human error, but it will also eliminate the need for daily payroll updates so that decisions can be made quickly and easily based on real-time information without any delays.
The POS system can also automatically track sales at any given time, which is really important for inventory management as well in order to know when you need more items or if your item has been discontinued by its company so it needs no longer be sold.
In addition, the POS system automatically tracks the products which are running low so that you can order more in time without a constant need of monitoring every ingredient and supplier in the restaurant. All the things mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefit of a POS system.
If you’re still managing your business by hand or old equipment, I highly recommend that you implement a POS system and other technology to your business and free yourself from many annoying tasks.
Partner up with a reliable supplier
Being in business with the right supplier will also improve efficiency due to the fact that you’ll be able to get all your ingredients and supplies on time and at a price that is competitive with everyone else! Usually, they even have special deals and promotions for their best customers.
If you have a poor supplier it can affect your restaurant in a very negative way. For instance, if you’re getting your supplies from a supplier who is unreliable and always delivers late or doesn’t deliver at all then this will lower your productivity substantially and it will eventually reflect the branding of your restaurant and the happiness of the customers.
How to choose the right supplier: Restaurant Food Suppliers: The Complete Guide
Offer online reservations
Online reservations are a great way to save money and time. When you offer reservations, it will allow your staff members to have more downtime between the rush periods which means they can get some much-needed rest in order for them to maintain their energy levels throughout service hours, this will greatly improve their efficiency in the actual time that it is needed! It also saves on staffing because there are fewer people required at any given moment during peak hours.
As a bonus, it ensures a quick and attentive service for quests without the stress of waiting in line or wondering when they’ll be seated!
Install a self-order kiosk
Self-order kiosks are a great way to improve customer satisfaction and relieve some of the pressure on your staff members. This is because it helps customers place their orders quickly without needing assistance from any employee and also saves time for employees because it eliminates the need for them to take orders from customers.
This is especially helpful if you are short-staffed or in a similar situation when efficiency is needed more than ever. This can also help make your business seem more professional and up to date as well since people may think that they’re getting better customer service when in reality they are doing a huge part of the service process themselves.
Use quality equipment
Using proper restaurant supplies and equipment is a must if you want to maintain efficiency in your restaurant. This is because without them you could be creating more work than necessary for yourself and the rest of the staff, not leaving enough time or energy for later when you should concentrate on more pressing tasks.
For example, you need to dice 22lbs (10kg) of onions, there’s no way you should do it by hand because that could take hours. Instead, use a proper food processor which will take care of the task in minutes. These principles can be used nearly for everything in a restaurant and let’s face it, machines take the real feel from cooking but in large restaurants, they are a necessity.
Invest in quality food prepping
Food prepping or mise en place is a vital part of the restaurant process. It’s important to have all ingredients prepped and ready to go so that when the customer orders, it will be easy for you or your staff members. Every restaurant should have a mise en place list in order to ensure that everyone understands what is done and what needs to be done.
Mise en place lists should be organized by type: proteins, vegetables/salads, sauces, stocks/broth, and so on. This will allow your staff to be more efficient in the kitchen because they can cook what is needed without having a list of ingredients cluttered on their mind and it also allows the manager or owner to keep on track of what needs to be ordered.
It’s just as important for the front-of-house staff too because they need all ingredients and condiments ready when customers order so that their orders are accurate and quickly made. The more organized everything is, the easier time restaurant workers will have.
Think about the restaurant’s layout
Restaurants’ layout is a vital aspect to get right the first time because it needs to be practical, effective, and it is quite hard to change it afterwards. A layout that is too cluttered makes the employees work harder than they need which will add up in time, effort, or money wasted due to not having enough room to work in. Also, if the working environment is too wide and spread out it will also eat up a lot of time because even small distances will add up.
You should clear out unnecessary racks and other stuff to make way for a proper working environment and you can also install shelves and additional items which will free up some working space if you are running low in storage space.
Scheduling tasks is important and can take the form of a notebook or Excel sheet. It is best to have tasks scheduled out for each day and week so you know what needs to be done when it should be done by and with an estimate about how much time will go into completing them.
You should schedule different tasks such as cleaning, ordering supplies, food prepping, and more so that you can be as efficient with your time.
You should also consider what tasks are most important because sometimes the little things end up taking a lot of our attention when they really don’t need as much attention as more important things.
Offer payments to the table
Offering payments to the table or even giving a tab for the regulars can improve the restaurant’s efficiency. This way the servers don’t need to constantly be on the counter taking payments and they can focus their time on serving the customers and even doing some additional tasks in the meantime.
As a bonus, it will make people feel more comfortable with your staff which can result in more regular customers or even better tips for the servers!
Keep your staff trained
Keeping your staff trained for the latest changes in the industry and upskilling them for their position will be a great way to keep your staff focused and efficient.
Within the restaurant industry, there are constantly new changes happening all over so it’s important to have a staff who can keep up with these developments in order for them not only to do their job efficiently but also be able to provide customers what they want! Upskilling the employees will allow better professionalism within the staff which will result in higher customer satisfaction which is always the goal of any business!
Automate restaurant’s tasks
Automating restaurant tasks is a great way to be more efficient in the restaurant as it will allow automating tasks such as inventory, ordering, and production management.
As you can imagine this will save huge amounts of time, energy, and stress when you can get rid of manual labor from all those important aspects. There are some interesting ways that you can automate portions of your tasks and I have listed some that you should look into below.
- POS System
- Self Service Kiosk
- Automated Table Reservations
- Table Ordering System
- Automatic Billing
- Online Ordering
- Online Payments
The last idea on our list isn’t something that is usually found in efficiency improvement ideas, however, if you have worked a busy Saturday night in the restaurant’s kitchen or worked as a server behind the counter then you know the benefits of music!
Everyone has different taste in music but what I have discovered is that the style really doesn’t matter, however when you hear rhythm and beat when you are working your tasks in a restaurant the efficiency and speed will drastically improve so I would highly suggest that you invest in a decent speaker and play that music!
As a side note which is really important to remember that some restaurants just don’t seem to understand is that the music shouldn’t disturb the customers in any way and as a customer myself I don’t enjoy hearing too loud music when I’m dining in a restaurant so keep that in mind.
This article was all about improving the efficiency within the restaurant and we had 20 awesome ideas that you should definitely try in your business or workplace. There are many things that don’t work without the other so you should try and nail most of them and usually when you get one right the things related to it are much easier to achieve.
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this article and got real value from it that can actually be seen in your real life! Stay safe and efficient!