How To Cut Down Wait Time at Your Restaurant

How To Cut Down Wait Time at Your Restaurant
  • Opening Intro -

    In the restaurant industry, few things are more important than customer satisfaction.

    Unfortunately, even venues that craft delicious and crowd-pleasing food options can have low customer satisfaction.

    This is especially true in places that have low customer service ratings.


Learning how to cut down wait time at your restaurant is a key way to improve customer service while increasing your business’s profits.

Increase Organization

When Henry Ford maximized the production rate of the automobile, he did so with organization. Every individual task related to building a car was assigned and arranged in an order that made sense.

While building cars and serving food are functionally different, we can still apply the principles of organization here. A few ways to increase organization in your restaurant include:

  • Creating checklists for individual tasks like opening up
  • Making things people ask for frequently, such as napkins, straws, or extra sauce, easily accessible
  • Put more commonly used ingredients in spots that can be grabbed quicker
  • Pre-cut ingredients as much as possible
  • Have a set vocabulary for everything for improved communication.

Make sure you consult your staff before making major organizational changes. They will be able to give greater insight into the daily function of your restaurant and what changes would actually be helpful.

Add Technology

As technology use increases, owners and managers can use it as a valuable tool to decrease restaurant wait time. Time-saving technology includes:

  • Apps that allow customers to order ahead or from their tables
  • Automated wait management systems that inform customers of wait times
  • QR codes at the door that allow customers to pull up their orders while waiting for a table
  • Kitchen display systems to increase communication between the kitchen and the house
  • Table management systems to improve organization among the waitstaff

Even if technology doesn’t reduce wait times, it can make the wait time seem shorter. For example, adding text-alert systems to keep customers updated on their food will take the uncertainty out of their wait. Or you can use tabletop games to distract customers from the fact that they’re waiting.

Improve Training

The most organized system with the most advanced technology will not help if your staff is not trained in how to use it. That is why it is essential to prioritize training both when new staff comes in and throughout the year.

Training helps increase staff’s familiarity with its systems. It also helps increase teamwork and communication among staff. This will ensure your kitchen works more efficiently, cutting down wait time.

Have a Plan for Equipment Downtime

Downtime is one of the key reasons why equipment maintenance is so important. Even so, you can’t predict or prevent all equipment downtime. Still, you can diminish its impact on wait time.

For instance, you can have a plan in place for what happens if a piece goes out. Know how you will communicate the error to customers or alternative cooking methods or meals you can offer. That way, even if there is a delay, your customers will know you still care about their interests and experience.

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