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Tips for Improving Speed of Service

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When customers dine at restaurants, they want their food as soon as possible. It matters very little what the theme of the restaurant is; people still want their food quickly, because they are hungry or they are on a schedule. Even at a fine dining restaurant, people still expect to receive their food at a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, speed of service is a key aspect of running a restaurant.

Use these tips to improve the speed of service at your restaurant:

  • Your staff should work quickly and efficiently at all times. When customers see that your staff is hurrying all the time to get things done, it creates an impression that your staff is doing everything they can to speed up service. It makes them think that they are getting their food faster regardless of whether it took 10 or 30 minutes for them to get their meals.
  • Have your most experienced staff work the busiest hours. The Friday night dinner rush is not the best time to train your newest team members.
  • Keep your storage and work areas well-organized and well-stocked. It is difficult to work efficiently if you cannot find the items you need. If the work space is not designed for speed, it is difficult for your staff to work quickly.
  • Before each shift, make sure everything is stocked and ready to go. Use downtime to prepare items for the next busy shift.
  • Avoid understaffing your restaurant. Always aim to staff at or above the projected staffing needs. When employees are overworked, they lose morale and will feel resentful. This reduces the efficiency of your restaurant. Furthermore, high staff turnover can impair your restaurant’s effectiveness. It is expensive and time-consuming to hire and train new staff.
  • Whenever possible, use ingredients that are easy and quick to cook without sacrificing quality. Increasing the amount of pre-made items can also increase speed of service.
  • If you have a drive-thru, speed of service is even more important. These customers are in such a hurry that they don’t even want to get out of their cars. You may want to periodically use a stopwatch to time the speed of service at your drive-thru to determine how long it takes to fulfill an order and to see if improvements are necessary.
  • Encourage your staff to work as a team. Motivate your staff to pitch in and help each other. Positive teamwork creates a better work environment for everyone.
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