The key to turning tables: 7 tips for higher turnover

By 4.1 min readPublished On: January 30, 2018

When you own a busy restaurant, faster table turnover means higher revenue, so you want to seat as many parties per seating as possible.  Getting your tables in and out can sometimes be difficult to master.  The trick is to get those tables turned faster without being inhospitable; nobody likes being pushed out the door after enjoying there meal and spending money.  So, because your customers are the backbone of your business, ensuring their comfort and satisfaction must be your number one priority.
Here are some helpful tips for you when planning how to increase table turnover.
Meet & greet 

Make sure your waiters put some pep in their step and are paying attention to their tables. They should be greeting tables within one minute of them being seated.  Usually getting to a table faster to take a customer’s order is better than rushing them to leave.   If they order their food within 10 minutes of seating, and you can get them their meal within 20 minutes you’re right on schedule.
Incomplete tables don’t sit down
Service and guest experience are always first and foremost, so if you don’t have a wait feel free to seat incomplete parties, but if your slammed it’s totally acceptable to say they have to wait for everyone. Clearly if everyone hasn’t arrived yet, they won’t be ordering anytime soon.
Loud noise is good noise
Ever been to a restaurant that is so boisterous and loud you can’t hear yourself think? Well it turns out these not-so-good vibrations might be on purpose. Studies show people drink more, eat faster and leave sooner when the bass is thumping, so restaurants are bringing on the noise.
Give them a reason to move

What if you have table campers and the waiting list is so long you don’t know how you are going to seat everyone before the evening is through? Well offer them a free drink at the bar to move their bums.  You can politely say “While I would love to have you stay here at my table all night, there are lots of other people waiting to enjoy a meal just like you.  Can I buy you a round at the bar to continue your evening?”
Dropping the check
Dropping a check before your customers are finished eating can be iffy. You don’t want them to feel rushed.  It’s important for your waiters to pay attention to what phase of the meal they are in.   I used to hate having customers ask for the check, so if I saw they were done eating I had the check printed and would ask “Can I get you anything else?”.  Most of the times they said no, and I saved my self some time by having the bill already with me.  On the flip side if they asked for desert, well then I put the order through and brought the check along with desert.
New Technology

The world we live in is constantly changing when it comes to new technologies. Gone are the times when your staff had to go to a stationary POS system to submit orders and finalize payments. Now restaurants have the option of using mobile pay stations and tableside tablets for easy ordering and payment processing. If you own a casual restaurant, most likely your POS can help get you the right electronic equipment to help drastically increase efficiency by allowing servers to focus on other tasks.
Seating Software
To follow the above, when it comes to technology there is little left out to help support productivity for your restaurant. If your hostess is still manually assigning tables, and writing on a seating chart you most likely aren’t seating guests with maximum efficiency. If your restaurant is busy, all it takes to slow down the whole night is seating a two top at a four top.  So it’s time to try using a software linked to your POS to your restaurants layout with seating charts that benefit in creating seating assignments based on your reservations and waitlist. Ultimately more efficiency leads to more business.  Not to mention these programs can send your guests a message to their mobile devices letting them know their table is ready.
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See you next week!
Your devoted hostess,
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