It’s peak time at your restaurant. Your employees look frazzled and tired. Waiting guests appear annoyed with their arms crossed while glancing at their phones. The line doesn’t seem to let up, and the condiments counter looks like its been hit by a tornado. Your third party delivery drivers are queuing with the rest of your customers.
Does this look like an average rush hour for you? Perhaps it’s mid-day or after work– maybe it’s both times of the day. Either way, you know things can run better. But where do you start? What improvements will truly help to make a difference?
Firstly, pat yourself on the back, you recognize there is a problem, so that’s step one. Next, it’s time for a real, detailed assessment done during your problem hours. After careful observation, try to answer the following questions:
1. Is there clear communication between the front and back of the house? (Do you hear people repeating orders often? Are tickets clear and easy to read?)
2. Are your employees adhering to standard operating procedures, or are they taking shortcuts?
3. Do you have a designated area (clearly visible) for third party delivery couriers and pick up orders?
4. Are your hosts giving guests accurate wait times?
5. Are tickets piling up in the kitchen?
6. Do you often hear complaints from patrons? Are they usually centered around the same thing (i.e., wrong order, long wait times, quality)? Investigate your restaurant’s online reviews on Google and Yelp to help shed some light.
Let’s take a peek in the kitchen. If you notice a backup on tickets, you may be understaffed. Before jumping the gun and hiring a new chef, take note of whether your cooks are doing things efficiently (listen to customer’s feedback to get an idea of where problems are stemming). They may be taking unnecessary steps that eat up time or lack proper training in kitchen efficiency. This highlights why procedures and on-going employee training should be a high priority.
Your front-of-house employees’ actions require just as much examination. Are your hosts giving honest and accurate wait times? Do they know how to operate your Point of Sale system with ease? (And if you’re not using one, it’s probably time to make that investment). Are they communicating with the kitchen as efficiently as possible? Just as with the chefs in the back, these staff members should be well-trained on how to handle customers as well as the technology your restaurant utilizes.
You’ll notice a recurring theme here. Your staff will only perform as well as they’ve been trained to utilize the tools you have given them. Their inefficient performance can be a reflection of restaurant management or operational inefficiencies.
A few bonus tips: entertain your guests and give them a comfortable area to wait. Consider TVs, music, and free Wi-Fi. To keep lines orderly, ensure you have a designated and clearly labeled “pick-up only” section.Restaurant Management, Restaurant Training