Efficiency is an important element of restaurant success. It determines your customer experience based on how quickly they are welcomed, how easily they are seated, how their orders are taken, how well and how quickly their food is prepared and how quickly they can pay and leave once their meal is complete. Inefficiencies in any of these areas interfere with customer experience and can even impact the quality of the food. However, efficiency can be improved by management, communication, speed and loyalty. Here are some strategies to improve restaurant efficiency.
Improve Front-of-House Efficiency
Front-of-house refers to the areas of your restaurant that are visible to customers. It is important because it includes all the customer touchpoints during the customer journey. When you improve front-of-house efficiency you also improve your brand reputation. Some tips to improve efficiencies include:
- Properly train your host to greet and seat guests quickly
- Assign front-of-house roles so everyone knows their own responsibilities and where they can help pick up the slack such as waitresses helping to clear tables for busy bus boys, or greeting new guests when the hostess is not at their station
- Provide a friendly, comfortable area for guests waiting for a table so they can enjoy a drink, order appetizers and relax
- Adopt contactless dining options such as online reservations, online pre-ordering and online paying so guests can have more control over the speed of your service
- Hold regular shift meetings prior to opening so everyone understands the specials, who’s hosting, and little details like your bread order didn’t arrive so certain dishes are off the menu
- Create standardized FOH training and have a Training Manual so everyone has the same level of training, and your processes are consistent across the board
These basic steps will help improve efficiencies, make your process more streamlined and improve customer experience. It also helps keep staff happy as everyone is doing their jobs more effectively reducing stress and conflict.
Automate Your Restaurant Tasks
Automating restaurant tasks is a great way to improve restaurant efficiency. Today technology makes it easier than ever to streamline processes and avoid service bottlenecks. This can include:
- POS System: A POS system allows you to precisely track all your transactions.
- Self-Service Kiosk: Self-service kiosks enable restaurants to serve their clients by meeting their requirements while increasing revenue and minimizing wait times.
- Automated Table Reservations: Automated table reservations allow customers to check table availability, book tables, receive reminders and cancel reservations without having to call.
- Table Ordering System: Contactless ordering and payment allows customers to browse the menu, place orders and even close their checks and pay without waiting for a server. This frees up staff while also ensuring customer satisfaction.
- Automatic Billing: Streamlining all billing processes for your supplies makes recurring billing more effective freeing up time for kitchen staff or managers.
- Online Ordering: Customers can place orders in advance before visiting your restaurant using an online ordering system.
- Online Payments: Customers can pay online to increase customer base.
Upskill Your Team
Skills gaps can occur in any industry including hospitality. It does not just apply to automation and a failure to include everyone in formal training, but also manual training such as replacing a beer keg at the bar. When you take time to upskill your team, they become more efficient and can also step into different areas or roles when you are short-staffed. Being short-staffed is something many restaurants worry about due to employee churn. You can use these tips to effectively run your restaurant by upskilling your team:
- Track employee performance with your point-of-sale system and look for teaching opportunities to improve their skills
- Continuously update training procedures to meet the changing needs of your restaurant, new equipment and changing rules and regulations
- Hold regular staff meetings and training seminars, making sure all questions are welcome to create a learning environment
- Become more responsive to employee questions and opportunities to help them meet career goals
- Consider mentoring roles matched with new hires
Get the Layout Right
The design of the restaurant is a vital component in the efficiency battle. Poor layout interferes with all aspects of your operation from how guests arrive and are seated, to how easily trays can be loaded and sent out to guests and from kitchen efficiency to how well guests can hear their servers. The main aspects of a restaurant design include the following:
Ensure that the design considers both the customer and employee journey to avoid conflicts in the layout and watch efficiencies improve.
Streamline Food Preparation
Efficient food preparation is important in any successful kitchen. Staying on top of how your kitchen runs contributes to customer experience. Streamlining food preparation becomes easier when you have the right commercial kitchen tools and have them placed in the right location to improve flow. Streamlined food prep also improves the quality and taste of food as it reaches the table faster. As a result, customers will be more likely to return to your restaurant.
Restaurants can do very well when they have a strong and loyal base of customers. Although you want to find ways to attract new customers, your “regulars” help keep your business afloat. Implementing a loyalty program using your POS system allows you to reward your most loyal customers. Whether it’s a free drink, a discounted entrée or two for one appies, customers love feeling special. You can also use customer feedback surveys to improve areas of your customer service. Turn customers into regulars and improve restaurant efficiency by offering smart incentives like:
- Gift cards
You can even introduce a secret, off-menu ordering option for regulars to create a sense of exclusivity.
Keep the Kitchen Clean
No one wants to eat in a dirty restaurant. Customers appreciate a clean environment and are more likely to return if they feel the restaurant is safe and the quality of the food they eat has not been compromised. However, cleanliness also improves restaurant efficiency by ensuring everything is in its place and that the kitchen is clear of obstacles that slow people down.
Restaurants, hotels and coffee shops require efficient, safe commercial freezers to store food and beverages. When food is not stored properly, safety and flavour is compromised. Therefore, choosing the right freezer for a restaurant is crucial.
How Display Refrigerators help with Restaurant Efficiency
Display refrigerators allow you to display foods and beverages available for the self-serve area of your restaurant. They also help improve efficiency in the kitchen when staff can see the ingredients they need. A display of fresh salads, desserts, sandwiches and other food products attracts clients to encourage increased impulse purchases. When items are well-organized in a display fridge it is easier for them to see both the items you sell and the things they are looking for.
Achieving restaurant efficiency can be a little tricky. However, by implementing the above strategies you can ensure your restaurant is primed for success.