Optimising Your Table Turnover
Owners find it tricky and sometimes confusing. However, dining demand is still rising in certain parts of the country. So our job is to be able to service as many diners as we can during our opening hours. This will have a profound effect on revenue.
However, putting too much pressure on freeing tables can frustrate and rush patrons unnecessarily too. So, it is a delicate balancing act for most because not focusing on table turnover decreases revenue and aggravates patrons too. For many, the trick is to get a good handle on wait times. Here are a few ways worth considering.
Firstly, figure out your table turnover.
Here’s an example. If you had 20 parties and you had 10 tables, your table turnover is calculated to be 2.
Basically, take your parties, divide by the number of tables you have.
Obviously, you can segment and analyse further. It will vary from day to day, or depending on the meal time – or if you have recently made some other changes in your operations or set up.
If this gets too much, see if a good restaurant bookkeeper can help you.
Secondly, pay closer attention to service time.
Faster greeting times. Standardise responses to customers. Micro-plan those interactions. The devil is in the details. Any training you start, you have to stick to it until these habits become entrenched.
Thirdly, digital menus and payment solutions
That way they don’t have to wait to order or to pay. Nowadays, many customers prefer it that way anyway. Plus, it frees up your table faster in most instances as no one likes to wait for the bill. Once they are ready to leave, they want to get out.
Fourthly, do not seat incomplete parties.
This is for obvious reasons. However, you do need to communicate this adequately before implementing it. Customers need to be well aware that is why they are waiting to be seated. It will help you the most when you are full.
Fifthly, courteously encourage your customers to leave.
You don’t want to come across as pushy. So you only want to hint indirectly e.g. “How was everything?” or “Would you like to order anything else?” with a smile. That should do the trick, but needs to be done every single time.
Lastly, maximise your seating arrangements and floorplan.
Again there are digital solutions that can assist you in gaining efficiencies with your seating plan these days. For instance, you don’t want to seat people on tables not appropriate for the party size.
Even when you are not that busy, always sit the right fit. Because you never know when a larger party can arrive. And your larger table is taken by parties of two.
If it’s a demand issue, then that also needs to be addressed and you will probably find many different blogs (and marketing experts) that can assist with that too.
But, as long as you have enough demand, keep tweaking your table turnover using the advice above. Your revenue will thank you for it. So will your customers and staff. If you need help with any of this, please contact us, your friendly restaurant accountant.