November 22, 2022

3 Steps To Make Your Restaurant More Productive

You work hard to run a productive restaurant, and so does the team that you’ve built. Let’s take a look at three basic steps that will help you make more out of that hard work and be more productive.

By cutting out the extra and unnecessary, training your team well, and communicating effectively (and constantly), you can increase the productivity of your venue without spending too much money or overworking your staff.

Step 1: Cut out the extra, unnecessary, and repetitive.

I am a huge fan of simplifying things. I don’t mean making things smaller, or less sophisticated. I mean reducing the clutter that gets accumulated around everything we do. Long but useless menu descriptions, rushed pre-shift meetings, disorganized training binders, repetitive side work lists, and multiple email or text threads.

Cut out what isn’t working, what you don’t really need, and what complicates service for you and your team (Like the hot tea on the menu that is time consuming, inexpensive and unpopular). 

Step back and observe: you will likely find more than a few ways to simplify your day-to-day processes, and make life better for your staff.

Write a productive menu.

Take another look at your menu, and decide just how productive it allows both front and back of house teams to be. Can you eliminate any items? Are there unpopular items that are costly, or labor-consuming that you are still holding out hope for? And to help out your service staff, can you reduce the descriptions and make them more accurate and concise? Think clean and easy to comprehend (your guests will thank you, too!).

For a closer look at menu writing check out 4 Ways To Write a Better Menu.

Are pre-shift meetings really helping?

Let’s re-think the whole pre-shift thing. Are they really accomplishing everything you need them to? Can you simplify the pre-shift meeting by planning better, or being more organized? Let’s be real though, how long can someone keep up a “perfect pre-shift”? What if you communicated changes to your staff in advance? Is there a way to eliminate the meeting altogether? 

Take a deeper dive into your preshift meeting with "Pros and Cons of Pre-Shift: Are Daily Meetings Necessary?"

Help your staff to be productive, too

Now take a peek at your sidework checklists and procedures for your staff to follow on shift. Are they still accurate and up to date? Is anything unnecessary and can be eliminated? Can you go paperless somehow? Although thorough is what we want, repetitive or wordy can be frustrating for team members.

Simple equals more productive. It’s well...that simple! For a deeper dive into simplifying check out: Simplify Your Restaurant: Why Your Team Will Thank You.

Step 2: Give your staff the training they need.

Training restaurant staff is no easy feat. Well, at least to train them well, that is. 

As a waitress, starting a new job at a new restaurant was always a bit of taking what I knew from previous experience, and trying to adapt that to the guidelines that were specific to the new gig. Sometimes management made this easy, other times not so much.

What I noticed is that I was much more productive when I knew what was going on. I'm talking about the big picture, the what, how, where, when and why that underscored why I was even at the job in the first place.

Knowing what the menu items are, including ingredients, allergies, and the story behind the dishes. Knowing how to properly complete sidework, or follow specific steps of service. I need to know where things are physically within the venue, so that I can be efficient during a busy service. I also needed to know when certain tasks were to be completed, 

If you want to increase productivity within your restaurant, take a hard look at how your staff has been trained. Do they really have the tools they need to perform at the level you expect? Does your approach to training fit in the modern restaurant world? Is there one place they can look to learn and update their knowledge or do they have to go on a scavenger hunt? Is there a way you can put it all in one place that is easy to find and organized?

You can’t hold a team accountable for what they don’t know. You also can’t expect a highly productive team if they don’t have all the tools to do the job. 

Step 3: Communicate like you mean it

Okay, so your staff has been trained and are ready to hit the floor. No matter how well you have trained them, there will still be things that need to be communicated daily.

We all know things can get chaotic, and it’s easy for things to get missed or miscommunicated. It all comes down to keeping everyone updated and notified. Increased productivity is directly tied to better and faster communication. 

If your servers know that an item has changed or is sold out, it saves a ton of time and effort and lets them do more. The closer to real-time they know that the more difference it makes. The more info servers and bartenders can give to your guests and the more accurate it is, the less likely they are to send something back or be dissatisfied. This will reduce comps and voids, keep your guests happy and keep your staff moving. 

Take a good look at how you communicate in your venue. Is it all face to face? Do you rely on pre-shift meetings? Is it emails or text chains? Is there a way to streamline the way you get out the details of your restaurant? Can you put it all in one place and organize it in a way that allows it to change, update and notify everyone?

Organized Chaos: The Product of Productivity

Productivity thrives when there is organization and a good flow of information. Yes, it is chaos often in a restaurant, we know this. But let’s aim for “organized chaos” versus the chaos that puts everyone in the weeds (quite quickly).

Finding ways to simplify and streamline the training and “knowing” that happens in your venue will be a huge boost to productivity. 

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For more tips and tricks on improving productivity within your venue, check out these related articles:

  1. 9 Ways to Make Your Restaurant Kitchen Run More Efficiently
  2. 20 Ways to Improve Efficiency in Your Cafe or Restaurant
  3. 5 Steps to Making Your Restaurant More Efficient
  4. 7 Productivity Hacks for Restaurateurs to Work Smarter, Not Harder

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