How to Increase Table Turnover and Serve More People Faster

By Brett Doyle October 25, 2021 Categories: , , ,

Increase your restaurant’s table turnover rate to maximize revenue while ensuring happy and satisfied customers.

How to Increase Table Turnover and Serve More People Faster

Table turnover rate is one of the most important controllable metrics in most restaurants, as it has a direct impact on your overall revenues.

Finding the perfect balance between seating more people while ensuring quality service is what translates to more revenue for your business.

You want your table turnover to be as high as possible to increase cash flow. But you also want to maintain a table turnover rate that is long enough to allow guests to enjoy their dining experience, yet short enough to ensure quick waiting times for new parties. Getting the equation just right can be challenging.

So, the question is: How can you seat more people, without making your customers feel rushed or unappreciated? 

The answer: optimize your table turnover rate.

In this article, we will discuss how to calculate the table turnover rate of your restaurant, and how to maximize it to boost your sales during every service, while still ensuring an excellent customer experience.

 

What is Table Turnover Rate?

In a restaurant, the table turnover rate measures how quickly customers come and go.

Turnover rates measure the frequency with which parties occupy your tables during specific periods at a given point in time. The quicker tables turn over from one party to another, the higher this number becomes.

In other words:

Higher table turnover rate = Higher revenue

The more people you accommodate, the more sales you generate. It also means that you can serve more individuals, which gives you more leads for repeat customers in the future.

 

How to Calculate Table Turnover Rate 

In the management of restaurants, it is vital to calculate table turnover rates to get the most out of your maximum capacity at every service. It measures how busy your tables are during a specific service period.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, especially where restrictions are in still effect, a low table turnover rate can significantly affect your income due to limited seating capacity. So, a high table turnover rate can help you maximize revenues, even while working with the limitations you currently have.

So, without further adieu, here are the steps to help you calculate your restaurant’s table turnover rate: 

  • Select a period you want to measure. It can either be a specific time, such as lunch or dinner, or a specific day (whichever is busier). 
  • Count the number of customers you have served during the chosen period. It should be easy to collect this data from your POS system. 
  • Divide the number of customers by the total number of tables to get your restaurant's table turnover rate.  

For example, you have chosen to measure your total table turnover rate during Tuesday’s dinner service. You have 20 tables in your restaurant and accommodated 60 customers throughout the dinner service. 

60 / 20 = 3 

So, your table turnover rate on Tuesday’s dinner service is 3 seatings per table.

After calculating the table turnover rate, compare your sales during that period to your costs. If you can’t see a reasonable difference between revenue and cost, you should consider adjusting your table turnover rates.  

Your rate will depend on many variables. Large tables have a lower table turnover rate, because you need to provide service to more diners. It is the same with fine dining restaurants, where the focus is providing the best customer experience, rather than accommodating more people.

It is great to have a high table turnover rate, as this increases profits. However, you must always keep in mind that it is equally important to have seamless customer service.

So here are 6 ways to increase your restaurant’s table turnover rates (without sacrificing on customer experience).

 

How to Increase Your Table Turnover Rates 

1. Train Servers to Accommodate Guests Immediately

Customers should be seated immediately after arriving at your restaurant, especially when there are available tables. In the restaurant industry, it is ideal to make contact with guests within 1 minute after they are seated.

Servers should always be alert and communicate effectively with one another to quickly accommodate guests from the moment they arrive at your door until they ask for their bill. You should not be wasting the valuable time (of both your restaurant staff and the customer) by having them just waiting for a server.

The faster you can seat your customers, take their orders, and serve them, the faster you can accommodate more guests.

 

2. Assign more servers to tables with more guests

Larger tables with more customers take more serving time compared to regular tables. Avoid wasting valuable time by not designating just one server to take everybody's order. 

If you have enough personnel, consider assigning more servers to big parties. Doing so will lessen the time spent serving people, and the customers will feel more attended to.

Quicker serving time = Higher table turnover rate

 

3. Print out the check in advance

It's no secret that customers are constantly in a hurry to get the bill and leave, so why should you keep them waiting?

When customers are about to finish their meals, the server should check back on their tables to see if they want to order dessert or coffee. If they are not going to order more, the server can hand out the check immediately.

Handing out checks during busy hours, such as weekday lunches, should always be done as promptly as possible to increase turnover rates and profits during these periods.

 

4. Limit Your Menu Size

In restaurant design, one great way to simply and effectively increase your table turnover is by limiting the size of your menu. Downsizing your menu can also translate to more efficiency and more profits.

A compact menu helps customers have fewer options to choose from, resulting in faster ordering decisions. Streamlining your menu also benefits your kitchen by encouraging quicker service and simplifying complexity.

Removing the added burden to customers of choosing from a wide range of dishes will therefore help lessen dining time and increase table turnover rate.

 

5. Use POS system

A Point-of-Sale (POS) system is necessary when you want better, smoother, and quicker communication between your servers and kitchen staff. With POS automation, orders can directly go from the floor to the kitchen without servers having to run back and forth.

More than that, a cloud-based POS system, like Mosaic, will simplify the process of counting how many customers are being served at a specific period, their average spend, and average dining duration. This will make bookkeeping and calculating your revenue easier, and give you valuable data you can use to optimize table turnover rates even further.

 

Conclusion

While a fast table turnover relies heavily on decreasing the average restaurant service time, your ultimate goal is to find that perfect balance between customer satisfaction and table turnover. Having this balance will significantly increase your overall revenue.

You can make this process easier by using the right tools, like Mosaic Solutions. We offer real-time sales and operation data, automation of purchasing processes and inventory, and simplified front and back-of-house operations with our cloud-based system. We can help you speed up the service of your restaurant, increase your margins, and still keep your customers eager to come back for more.

Ready to increase your table turnover and generate more profit? Contact us, and let’s work together to streamline your restaurant’s service.