Does your restaurant need an efficiency increase? A lot of eateries focus on their menu and marketing, and then when the eatery is buzzing with customers, workers are left scrambling to keep up with orders.
Learning how to improve efficiency requires a lot of analysis and revisiting what’s working and not working.
How to Improve Efficiency in a Restaurant in 2023
If you want to begin generating efficiency ideas, you need to begin with an in-depth review of your protocols and procedures.
Review Your Processes and Procedures
Internal processes and procedures are the first things you need to look through and analyze. For example, you’ll want to review:
- Opening procedures: What are your opening procedures? Write down all of the procedures from the moment you open the door until the food is being prepared.
- Food prep: What are your food prep procedures? Can they be improved? Who assists with prep?
- Ordering: How does the ordering process work? Are there ways for you to streamline ordering through tablets or apps?
- Closing: What are your closing processes and procedures?
Do you have all of your processes and procedures written down? You'll want to create in-depth outliners for all procedures that allow anyone to follow along with them. For example, if you’re not in the restaurant, or you sell it in the future, you want the process and procedure documentation to help the person replacing you do the job just as well as you have.
You'll want to work through each of the processes and procedures that you create and optimize them as best as you can.
Even reducing ordering time by thirty seconds per person will help your restaurant enhance efficiency.
Implement State-of-the-Art Training
Your processes and procedures are only a part of the way to improve workplace efficiency. If your staff is not properly trained, it will still lead to poor performance. Follow these steps to get started:
- Train employees in their roles: What are your employees’ roles? You need to first begin with training each employee in their own, individual roles. When you do this, you ensure that they know what’s expected of them and how to perform each task. It's crucial to have training guides created that can be referred to in the future.
- Cross-train: When rush hour hits, it’s not uncommon for someone doing prep work to go out on the floor and serve food. Everyone needs to pitch in and help streamline ordering and serving food. Cross-train positions that you foresee being “floaters,” or those who may be required to fill in other roles.
Training is one of the ways to improve efficiency at work that can never be neglected. If you want your workforce to learn on-the-job, you can expect it to have a negative impact on your operations.
Errors and slow food service are two of the main drawbacks of learning on the job.
You may lose your one opportunity to impress customers, who are increasingly demanding. One study found that 70% of customers are angry if they need to wait 5 minutes to order and 20% want to order within 2 minutes of sitting down.
If you increase efficiency and productivity, you’ll have an easier time meeting these demands.
Outfit Your Restaurant With the Latest Technology
Work efficiency examples are only as effective as the staff following your directions. If you want to increase work efficiency, you also need to:
- Review your current technology
- Test new technology
- Find ways to reduce errors and improve speed
A good example of technology that can offer an immediate efficiency increase is your point-of-sale system. These systems are advancing rapidly, allowing a waitress to take orders right on the POS and connect with the back of the house.
The waitress can also take payments right on the device, allowing for minimal wait time from receiving the bill to walking out of the door.
An additional, unseen efficiency increase also occurs with the reduction of errors. Orders and input into the system and not done by memory. You'll even find table-top ordering systems that allow patrons to order without needing to wait on the waitress.
Assess Employee Strengths and Weaknesses
With the right technology, processes, and procedures, you may find yourself struggling to find ways to improve efficiency at work. The one element that you can “control” to some extent is your employees.
You may have one employee, we’ll call him Matt, who spends too much time during prep and ends up slowing the entire team down. Prep work may be Matt’s weakness, but you also notice that he is a robust server who improves customer satisfaction and speeds up the front-of-the-house operations.
There are a few options here:
- Move Matt to the front of the house
- Train Matt to be faster at prep
- Ask Matt to train others in the front of the house
Every employee has their own strengths and weaknesses that you must consider. Allowing employees to work within their strengths will help you achieve the efficiency increase you desire.
If you cross-train, you’ll help your staff improve productivity during busy periods because they can assist in areas that are struggling to keep up with orders.
Start Using Employee Productivity Reports
Finally, managers can use internal productivity reports to learn which team members and groups work best together. This calculation can be done by determining: the total night revenue/number of employees.
If you have 10 employees working on a busy night, you may find that you have $4,000 in revenue or $400 worth of productivity per employee.
However, other teams may be earning $500 per person, and you need to find out why. Perhaps the waitstaff is better trained to make recommendations, boosting revenue. The key is to compare days with a similar number of patrons to learn which teams are bringing in the most revenue.
If you follow these steps to implement an efficiency increase in your restaurant, you’ll find that your workers and customers will be happier as a result. Customer satisfaction will rise, ratings will be better, and the back of the house and front of the house will run far more effectively.