9 Effective Ways to Improve Restaurant Staff Efficiency

Written by Lauren Valensky

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As a restaurant owner, you want your services to operate smoothly throughout the day. However, a flawless service with no mistakes doesn't count for much if it takes hours for food to get to the table, ages for diners to get the bill, and what feels like an eternity for them to leave. That's where efficiency comes in.

By making some small tweaks to how your restaurant runs, you can help to ensure a quicker, more straightforward service that will leave your customers happy and wanting to return. But what exactly are these tweaks? And how can you make sure your restaurant's staff are adhering to them? 

Below, we've compiled nine effective ways to improve restaurant staff efficiency, from the front-of-house to back-of-house. So have a read and get your restaurant back on track.

What are the benefits of being efficient?

When it comes to business, efficiency is key. After all, time is money. By ensuring your processes are as streamlined as possible, your restaurant can access many advantages. Heaving high levels of efficiency is particularly beneficial when it comes to:

Improving customer satisfaction

Considering 9 out of 10 customers say they would leave a restaurant if they had to wait more than 10 minutes for their food, it's clear that efficiency is crucial in cultivating higher levels of customer satisfaction [1]. If you can get food and drinks to your customers quickly and without any hitches, while creating happy customers, you can drum up repeat business, and increase your revenue in the long term.

Attracting and retaining staff

When your restaurant is running like a well-oiled machine, it's not just customers who will be happy. In fact, 58% of workers would leave their job for a role with better structure and development opportunities [2].

An efficient team is also a motivated team. When staff feel like they're working towards a common goal and aren't wasting time on unnecessary tasks, they're more likely to be engaged and invested in their work, leading to better job satisfaction and lower staff turnover overall.

Reducing operational costs

Running a restaurant is an expensive business. From rent and bills to staff wages and ingredients, there are plenty of outgoing costs to consider. However, making your restaurant more efficient can cut down these costs considerably.

For example, by reducing the amount of time customers have to spend in your restaurant, you'll need less staff on the floor, have a higher turnover of diners, and can even save on wage costs. You'll also use less energy, as well as create less food and drink wastage, both of which will help to lower your bills.

Looking for an efficient restaurant solution that won't eat into your profits?

How to improve efficiency in your restaurant

Now we've looked at why efficiency is important, let's take a look at nine ways you can improve it in your restaurant:

Have a clear plan

The first step to improving efficiency is, unsurprisingly, having a clear plan in place. This plan should include the goals that you want your restaurant staff to achieve. Within these goals, you should ensure that each one is measurable, so it's easier for you to spot what's working and which areas need improvement. Having a clear plan can ensure that every task is carried out in a timely and efficient manner, as well as avoid any confusion or overlap between employees.

Establish a specific training procedure

Once you've set your goals, it's important to establish a training procedure so that your staff know exactly what they need to do in order to meet these targets. This training should be specific and cover all aspects of their job, from using the till to preparing food. Having a detailed training procedure in place will help ensure that your staff are confident in what they're doing, making them more efficient as a result.

You should feature details of this procedure in your plan, including an outline of specific training needed for assigned roles. For example, the front staff should be trained to tackle critical customer-facing situations, while the culinary staff should be trained to work under pressure and still serve quality dishes.

Implement training consistently

While having a solid training procedure is key, it becomes redundant if training isn't implemented consistently. It's important that all new staff members are given the same level of training, regardless of their position or experience.

Additionally, you should regularly retrain your existing staff so they're up-to-date with any changes, as your restaurant will undoubtedly change and evolve over time. By keeping your staff up-to-date with the latest procedures, you can ensure that everyone is always working as efficiently as possible.

Cross-train your staff

One of the best ways to improve restaurant staff efficiency is to cross-train them, meaning that each team member is well-versed in multiple areas of the restaurant, rather than just one.

This can help to massively improve overall efficiency since it ensures that there are always staff members available and they are able to cover different tasks, even if someone is absent.

As well as improving efficiency, cross-training provides an opportunity for staff members to continuously keep developing new skills, which is a driving factor in keeping staff morale high since it positively challenges employees and makes them feel like a crucial part of the team.

Train staff in the latest technology

In today's tech-driven world, it's more important than ever for restaurant staff to be proficient in the use of technology and up to date with technology trends. From ordering systems and kitchen displays to contactless payments, various devices and software can help streamline processes and make your restaurant run more efficiently.

Ensure you provide adequate training for your staff, so they feel confident using the technology available. This will help to improve their overall efficiency as well as reduce any frustration or stress that can come from trying to use unfamiliar devices.

Streamline your menu

If you want to improve restaurant staff efficiency, it's important to streamline your menu. This means having a concise, focused menu that doesn't try to cover too many bases. A reduced menu makes it easier for customers and staff to order and prepare food, while also improving the speed of customer decision-making. This can help to improve turnover rates and reduce wait times, making your restaurant more efficient overall.

Employ incentives

One of the best ways to motivate your staff and improve restaurant efficiency is to offer incentives and positive reinforcement - essentially rewarding employees for a job well done and offering constructive feedback when needed. While incentives are business specific, they do appear in common formats, from bonuses for meeting targets, to commissions on upselling, or even simply offering employee discounts.

By giving your staff something to work towards, and making them feel appreciated, you can motivate and encourage employees to be more efficient and productive in their roles.

Create a clear team structure

Another way to improve restaurant staff efficiency is to create a clear team structure by assigning specific roles. This creates a well-defined hierarchy within the restaurant, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. This avoids any confusion or overlap between employees and ensures that tasks are completed quickly and effectively. A clear team structure also allows you to delegate tasks more effectively, freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of running the restaurant.

Dine out on technology 

In today's tech-driven world, there's no excuse for not investing in some form of technology to help improve efficiency in your restaurant. Designed to work as a complete business management tool, Epos Now offers state-of-the-art point of sale (POS) systems for hospitality businesses.

Saving valuable time, you can control all vital aspects of your business from one cloud-based system. From reviewing profitability reports and access analyses on peak times for better staff scheduling and floorplan management to syncing online and in-house orders with inventory management software and accessing the Epos Now Appstore for table management and booking system software integrations, you can provide the most optimised and efficient service. 

Want to sink your teeth into improving efficiency across your restaurant? We'd love to hear from you!

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