Here are 4 Restaurant Management Tips Improving Wait Staff Productivity Today

Here are 4 Restaurant Management Tips Improving Wait Staff Productivity Today
Will Harmon

By Will Harmon

Great staff are invaluable – they are the ones championing your products, values, and service. Equipping them with the tools they need to create memorable customer experiences is integral to customer retention. It’s simple to measure your sales from your POS or expected revenues by taking inventory, but are you tying those numbers back to your staff? Who is contributing to your bottom line and how are they spending their time?

Measuring your staff productivity empowers managers to make informed decisions when making hiring or staff scheduling.

Tips for Improving Staff Productivity with Numbers

Having metrics in place can greatly improve staff productivity. While there is no one formula for tracking wait staff productivity, here are four restaurant management tips you can use to quantify your team’s work.

1. Track Table Performance

In foodservice operations, waiters and servers are assigned to specific zones in restaurants, so the first step to tracking productivity is tracking the tables. It will be helpful to pair this information with feedback from your customers. Concrete reviews are the best way to gauge how customers feel about your staff, but if you don’t have those available, you could use these metrics instead:

  • Rate of Return: simply put, if they like your business, they will come back.
  • Advocacy: how likely are patrons to recommend your restaurant to friends/family/coworkers? An NPS will provide that insight to you.
  • Customer Expectation: build high expectations to live up to. Make your customers feel a unique experience each time.

2. Use Add-on Menu Items to Track Sales Success

A trick you can use to track not only productivity, but also success, is paying close attention to the add-on inventory moved by your wait staff. Add-on inventory is classified as drinks, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts or modifiers. They’re essentially menu items that aren’t guaranteed to be sold or ordered (unlike entrees). If you keep tabs on these sales, you’ll able to identify which servershave more success in up selling these items more frequently.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to identify strategies that work and relay the information to your team. Pulling data from add-on sales will help you work with your staff to see what is moving and what isn’t so you can improve together.


3. Weigh Your Waste

Sustainability has taken the spotlight in the restaurant industry, with entire communities getting involved. Your kitchen staff monitor portion size and have a direct link to the amount of inventory getting pushed out each day. When the day is complete, your chefs are tossing unused inventory that won’t last until the next service. This isn’t a productive use of your inventory!

Start weighing your leftovers at the end of each day to see which menu items are most popular. From there, you can adjust product price, portion size, and amount ordered to run a leaner inventory and more efficient kitchen. Maintain this practice to ensure the numbers stay the same week over week. If numbers start fluctuating, run another test and adjust your values accordingly. You also have the option of donating your food waste to these apps who will make sure they feed hungry mouths.

4. Don't Forget the Data

None of this data will provide value to your restaurant unless you utilize it accordingly. Set bi-weekly or monthly meetings to communicate the results of your productivity tracking. Educate your staff in regards to what is currently working, what increases repeat customers, and what falls short. People who stick around in the restaurant industry do so for the passion for the industry – it’s not the most glamorous line of work. It’s up to restaurant managers to tap into employee’s passion and train them for success and productivity. For help planning out your productivity calendar, check out Hello Focus.

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Will Harmon
Will Harmon

Will Harmon was an associate at BlueCart, an ordering, inventory, and operations platform for the hospitality industry. He loves learning about procurement practices and the latest restaurant trends.