Restaurants have narrow profit margins and high costs. The great ones succeed because of delicious food, a welcoming atmosphere and streamlined operations.

Ready to maximize the efficiency of your restaurant and boost your overall profitability? Here we go…

Is your menu too long? (Probably)

Chefs typically want the menu to reflect their abilities. Sometimes that results in a menu that is so long and varied that it can easily slow the kitchen down.

If you’re in this situation, sit down with your chef and go over the menu.

Focus on the recipes where ingredients repeat. (That saves you money and makes inventory management much easier.) If you’d like to keep some unique items on the menu (not a bad idea), make them specials.

This idea may seem drastic, but smaller menus prevent spoilage. A smaller menu will also add clarity to your vision for the restaurant. And shorter menus avoid “decision fatigue” and speed up the order process, which will help with the next topic.  

Turning the tables 

Getting customers seated and fed is what a restaurant all about. If it takes too long to turn tables, folks will just go somewhere else.

More efficient table-turning is good for you and your staff. You’re serving more diners, which means more profits. Plus, servers see an increase in tips.

Here are some tips for turning tables faster:  

  • Declining to seat incomplete parties  
  • Politely shoo away tables that linger by encouraging your staff to be proactive about things like pre-bussing
  • Offering incentives to bussing staff to clear tables efficiently 

While these tactics work, you do run the risk of alienating your customers or negatively affecting their experience. But there’s another tactic that could create a positive experience for your customers: tableside checkout.

Tableside checkout technology allows your servers to process credit card payments without using a point-of-sale located somewhere else in the restaurant. It’s convenient… and it also encourages diners to move along a little faster at the end of the meal.

26% of consumers “say the availability of tableside electronic ordering and payment options would make them choose one restaurant over another.”

A place for everything 

Delivery apps like DoorDash and Grubhub have helped expand the food delivery market. 44% of consumers say they placed a food order for takeout or delivery using a restaurant app or website during the past year, and 38% of them say they are more likely to have restaurant food delivered than they were two years ago.

If you’re seeing an increase in takeout orders, you should set aside an area of the restaurant for takeout. You don’t want your servers tripping over hungry customers or delivery people!

Select a low-traffic area for takeout and make sure you use clear signage. While you’re looking for the perfect place to put a takeout station, take a long look at your restaurant layout and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a clear path to the bathroom?
  • Has the original table placement shifted over time?
  • Do our servers have the space they need to serve plates without squeezing, tripping or spilling?

Review your dining area at least once a week to ensure that your furniture hasn’t shifted to a place that creates obstacles for your staff.  

Do things the right way every day  

It’s unlikely your employees can remember every step in a perfect opening or closing, but your managers most likely have the list committed to memory.

Take the guessing out of things and post checklists for every critical process in your restaurant.

Ideally, checklists will be laminated and placed with a dry-erase marker so staff can check things off as they go. Lists set employees up for success and keep them accountable.  

Let your technology do the work 

Save yourself and your employees time by using your software to generate reports, manage inventory, and help with scheduling.

The less they do by hand, the more time to focus on customers. (And the same goes for you!)

Final thoughts

Running a restaurant is no easy thing. Seek out every opportunity you can find to streamline your approach.

The more efficiently your restaurant runs, the happier your customers will be… and the more your profit margins will benefit. Basically, everyone wins.

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