Having good control of your restaurant table turnover rate leaves a positive impact on your restaurant’s profitability. The more customers you seat and serve in a given period, the more profit you generate for your restaurant. And as a restaurant owner, you should have a trick or two to keep your table turnover rate exceptional.
You may not have full control over your customer’s decision to stay on your premises, but you can influence them to act according to your expectations. This is to maintain management and authority, not just over your table turnover rate, but on your entire operation procedures.
This feature aims to guide restaurateurs, just like you, on their restaurant table turnover management. Determine your current table turnover rate using the data you have on hand, understand what are its factors, and learn practical tips that you can apply to work on the factors that affect table turnover rate.
Factors that Affects Turnover Rate
Starting from different operational procedures to customer demands and needs, several factors can impact the turnover rate of your restaurant. The needs and expectations of customers from fast-casual dining restaurants are different compared to fine dining restaurants. Fast-casual dining restaurants have different factors to work out compared to fine dining restaurants.
Though customer needs is a huge factor that alters the table turnover rate for a restaurant, restaurant professional and industry experts are trained to focus on the factors that they have full authority with, such as the following.
- Service type
- Menu size
- Food preparation
- Restaurant technology
- Dining area interior design
- Restaurant staff management
- Kitchen area design
How to calculate table turnover rate
Here are the formula and a brief explanation of how the calculation of the table turnover rate works. You’ll need data about the number of customers you served and the number of tables occupied.
First, you need to provide a specific period. (The period you want to measure)
No. of customer served during the specific period
No. of tables occupied during the specific period
Table Turnover Rate
For instance, you want to know your restaurant’s turnover rate during the dinner period. You also have to take note of the particular periods such as weekends and weekdays.
For a Wednesday night, your dinner service starts at 6 pm. Set your measurable period until 11 pm (5hrs). After providing a period, identify the count of customers that are served during the period you’ve provided. You should have your POS system to help you come up with exact data.
Once you have the number of customers served, divide it by the number of tables that are served during the period you’ve set. If you have eight tables, and you served forty customers during the set period, then your turnover rate is five.
Average Table Turnover Rate
Knowing that there are too many establishments and operational variables to consider, it is not easy to determine the suggested turnover rate for a restaurant type. Here’s a list of the average restaurant table turnover rate according to different restaurant operation styles.
- Cafeteria – 1.5 to 2.5
- Fast Casual Dining – 2 to 3
- Full Regular Dining Service – 1 to 2.5
- Full Fine Dining Service – .5 to 1
Tips for Improving Table Turnover Rate for Your Restaurant
It is expected that your restaurant sales will increase if you’ll work on improving the table turnover rate for your restaurants. Over time, restaurant experts, designers, developers, and managers have continuously developed and adopted methods that can optimize operational procedures for a higher level of efficiency. This is the main solution that they have come up with to exert influence to table turnover rate without giving the customers that they were being rushed. After all, customer experience is just as important as the potential increase in sales.
Train the entire restaurant staff
Starting from the front-of-the-house until the back-of-the-house, your entire team should be knowledgeable and trained well enough to manage the table turnover of your restaurant. They must know and they are aligned with your goals to make it easier for them to act upon them.
Your staff are the key players of your entire restaurant operations, they are the ones responsible for preparing and cleaning the tables. That’s why if you want to improve it, you must also enhance the skills of your staff.
Train your kitchen staff to create a working system that will effectively simplify and shorten preparation time. They must know what are the ingredients that have to and can be prepared before service. Work stations must be properly organized to avoid unnecessary mess and errors that could lead to delay in service.
For your front-of-the-house team, they should know how to manage orders from their first encounter with the customers. If there’s a waiting list, teach them to encourage customers to place their orders so that the kitchen can start prepping for their orders, they must also seat the customers as soon as they enter the premises. Inform them that they should always make sure that a party is complete before they start service.
Restaurant managers should create a responsible staff management system to maximize every staff movement. It is good to prioritize food service, but drink service should also be monitored. Customers tend to stay longer because the wait staff is taking its time to deliver their drinks. Though there’s not much freshness and temperature to consider, it is just as important as serving the food items. Drinks also help stimulate the feeling of fullness in a customer, leading them to leave almost right after they finish their drinks.
Your managers should also know how to place staff properly. If there’s a large group in your restaurant, two or more staff should be placed to assist that table to make the order taking and serving process faster. Lastly, your staff should work on their visits. If they can accomplish two or more tasks in one trip, encourage them to do so.
Keep them updated regarding your restaurant business plan for them to have a clearer view of how they play an important role in achieving the restaurant’s goals.
Maximize restaurant technology
Technology is a huge part of improving restaurant operations and customer experience. It has helped streamline every process that takes place inside and outside the restaurant. Here are some of the most helpful restaurant technologies that can enhance the table turnover rate of your restaurant.
This is one of the more advanced types of restaurant technology that started to climb its way to fame during the coronavirus outbreak. It encourages contactless service that secures the added safety of customers on your premises. Modern diners are getting more health-conscious, these kiosks allow them to enjoy their dining experience with lesser worries.
Self-service kiosks also help to lessen the waiting time of your customers as they are the ones responsible for completing their transactions. If you have the resources, this type of innovation is your first step towards the future of the dining experience.
Table Ordering System
It is ideal to avoid a POS system that limits the movement and slows down the productivity of your staff. Adopting a table ordering system allows your staff to carry out the order-taking process on the table side using their mobile or tablet device. The order is sent directly to the kitchen and preparation can start right away. It also improves the accuracy of the ordering process to minimize and soon, avoid, errors in order taking.
Advance Order System
Most fast-casual dining restaurants are eager to utilize this system because it enables their customers to place their orders in advance. This minimizes the waiting time of customers a lot and enhances your capacity management at a higher level.
Table Reservation System
Let your customers process their reservations by themselves, online. This helps your staff to focus on other tasks rather than staying on the phone for a long time just to accommodate a single reservation inquiry. Just make sure to update the reservations and send a confirmation notice to avoid miscommunication between your restaurant and the customers.
This type of software also allows you to manage your reservations more effectively. It shows you a summary report about all of your live reservations, therefore, you can choose when and where to approve reservations. Ideally, you avoid approving reservations during busy hours and peak seasons to protect your table turnover rate.
Kitchen Display System
KDS optimizes the communication of your back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house team. It displays accurately the orders taken by the wait staff and allows the kitchen staff to start on the meal preparation process right away. If you’re still unfamiliar with this type of technology, this may be the best time to start checking it out.
It can help you improve not just your table turnover rate, but also your customer service, waste control, and inventory management. Don’t let your restaurant business fall behind just because you failed to check every opportunity that’s available for it.
With all the health and social distancing protocols, it is not surprising that the expectations of the restaurant customers are also adjusted. They want less contact and less face-to-face transaction as much as possible leading to the birth of this innovation.
It is a restaurant technology that enables restaurant staff to receive and manage orders from walk-in and online customers. The order-taking process is sped up, and even the monitoring of the orders, until bill payment is properly monitored and managed with this type of restaurant technology.
Since there are fewer errors made, there’s also an increase in productivity inside the restaurant. Waiter apps help mold the operations of the restaurant into a better one. Starting from order taking until the payment, everything will be integrated into the restaurant’s EPOS or POS System.
Contactless Payment System
While cash remains the second most frequently used payment method, usage continues to fall, with one in ten adults choosing to live a largely cashless life. Consumers are taking a ‘pick n mix approach to how they make payments, with mobile banking, mobile payments, and contactless all becoming increasingly popular.
Modern diners are open to supporting different initiatives that lead towards a healthier and safer dining experience, and contactless payment is one of these initiatives. Convenient and fast transactions lead to the increase of efficiency and productivity of the business.
Work the interior
You must understand how the designs on your restaurants affect your customer’s behavior. There are plenty of design elements that influence your customers such as menu design, color, lighting, and even your music that you play in the background.
You’ll be surprised how these simple modifications on your work routines or updates on your interior designs can lead customers in and out of your restaurant without making them feel rushed or unwelcomed.
The key to winning modern diners’ loyalty is to provide fast and convenient service. Customers expect everything to be quick and handy for them. This goes for restaurant menus as well, one of the main reasons why shorter menus are appealing and popular to modern diners is because it addresses their main demands.
A simplified menu means less food waste, less inventory needed, and a streamlined work process. Modern diners often irked at complicated menus. They enjoy it in its simplest form. It is important that it’s organized, readable, and easy to understand. As long as it contains your offerings, it is good to go.
Ensure that your tables are designed to be combined with others tables as needed. Flexibility in seating allows your restaurant to cater to different numbers of groups, thus creating an opportunity for you to serve more customers than expected.
If you notice that you’re sending out customers often, you may have to review the seating and table arrangement inside your dining area. You may also check out the layout of the entire area to work on a more constructive restaurant table management plan.
Fast food and casual dining often use colors such as red, yellow, and orange because it stimulates hunger and appetite. The customers are influenced to eat and finish their meal faster. The well-lit environment also leads to a higher table turnover rate because it conditions the mind of the customers not to stay longer inside the establishment.
If you have a bar, and there’s a party that already ended but the group is showing no signs of going soon, encourage them to go into your bar and let them enjoy a few drinks. Your bar is the place where customers can stay as much as they like, it keeps them off the tables and the drinks that they order are a great addition to your revenue.
Choosing the right color and lighting combination affects customer’s behavior drastically, that’s why it is important to be mindful of working on your restaurant interior design.
The tempo of your background music affects the seating times of customers. Studies showed that customers tend to chew a third faster if they are being played with high-volume and fast-tempo music, thus, increasing the table turnover rate.
Masking unnecessary noise such as cutlery clanks and chatters is also effective to increase customer satisfaction for your restaurant.
Establish an expected turnover rate
You must show your staff an expected table turnover rate for them to achieve such a rate. If your restaurant fails to meet the average table turnover rate for your restaurant type, then you can start checking the factors that may be negatively affecting your turnover rate.
To create one, you must conduct a market demand analysis that can guide you to come up with the estimated seat times per meal period of your current market. This also gives you a better insight into how your local competition is doing on their table turnover rate. Keep in mind that it is always helpful to consult or check the competition for valuable insights regarding your current operational procedures as it helps you identify the flaws that you can hone for better.
Your restaurant staff should have themselves familiarized with your customers, especially the repeat and loyal ones. If they are not yet familiar, it is a must that you ask them if it’s their first time dining in your restaurant. Asking them this basic question helps fasten the ordering process as your staff is not required to explain the menu items to your customers.
Menu explanation is an integral part of customer service, if it’s skipped without prior knowledge, it would gravely affect the customer experience and it will slow down the order-taking process.
Strategic placement of the bill is also important to keep the table turnover rate high. Your front-of-the-house staff should be mindful of showing the bill if it’s not requested by the customers. They must know how to read the atmosphere within the group and see if it’s already the right time to show them the bill. The moment where the customers are finishing up their desserts is usually the perfect time to hand over the bill, if they don’t order desserts, observe when they are soon finishing up their meal.