As a customer, we all hate the idea of having to wait for getting any service or product. And this hate becomes worse when we have to wait outside our favourite restaurant, hangry and desperate for a table! For a restauranteur, there is nothing worse than being unable to help your customers wait for their tables. A long customer wait time can even turn away customers from the establishment. But worry not; we have tips which will help you reduce waiting time in your restaurant. Here’s how!
Best 4 Ways to Reduce Customer Wait Time in Restaurants
Try these techniques and reduce your table wait time significantly!
1. Figure Out Your Staff Schedule
Pre-scheduling your staff’s responsibilities and timetable is a fantastic way to manage busy hours.
- Make sure you have enough staff to actively work during busy hours. Understaffing can prolong your wait time.
- It is okay even to be overstaffed during excessively high traffic times. With time you will find the exact number of staff members you need for such hours, and be able to save the extra costs.
- Carefully assess each member’s individual potential and capabilities to assign responsibilities accordingly.
2. Train Your Staff
For efficient restaurant table management, it is essential to train your restaurant staff properly, streamline the entire restaurant process and improve turnaround time.
- Provide extensive customer service training to your staff to effectively provide quick service. Training will ensure your staff can handle busy hours without compromising on the service.
- Close collaboration between the kitchen staff and front room staff is crucial. For instance, it would be terrible if the food is ready at the food station but no one’s serving it to the customers.
- Train them to efficiently manage small things like timely taking orders, delivering food on time, fast billing through your POS system, etc.
While the turnover time in your restaurants depends on your restaurant type, studies have suggested that the average wait time for restaurants is 23 minutes.
3. Accept Table Reservations
Accepting reservations can help bring order to chaos when you are expecting busy hours.
- If your restaurant doesn’t accept prior bookings, starting now is a good idea. It gives you an idea about what to expect in advance.
- You can divide the tables between the ones accepting reservations and those reserved only for walk-ins.
- It is a great way to reward customers who plan ahead of time, as they can avoid a long wait time.
4. Automate Your Operations
Restaurant technology has been growing at a breakneck speed. The owners and staff are adopting quick, easy-to-use and cost-effective technological support like POS systems, high-end kitchen equipment, and Ai-based CRM tools to automate mundane but essential operations of their restaurants.
- Whether it is billing or table management, you can switch to Petpooja’s queue management system to manage your rush hours. Take your customers’ numbers in your POS system & the system will shoot your customers a message when the table is empty and ready to attend.
- You can also get system-generated reports about how many others have been placed & customers attended to.
- Offering your restaurant’s menu through QR Code reduces the time a customer and staff spend ordering food.
- Keep tableside payment as it is faster than paying at the counter.
If the customers have finished their meal and are lingering for a long time, it is best to tell them how other customers are waiting politely. Read our blog to learn more about increasing your table turnover time.
Tips To Entertain Your Customers During Their Wait Time
As the customers wait for their table, here are some customer services you can offer them.
1. Offer Complimentary Drinks
Your customers are hungry and waiting. Offer them complimentary welcome drinks and (if your budget allows) some finger foods. If you are not planning to spend so much on the welcome drinks, you can always provide them with packed water bottles!
2. Some Distractions
Visual and auditory distractions can create the impression of fast-moving wait time in customers. You can hang a television or jukebox playing melodious music in the background. You can assign some staff members to indulge the waiting customers and conduct some activities.
3. Encourage Order Take Away
You can offer your customers who are waiting for their tables the option to get takeouts. You should also promote your takeout and online ordering services more to avoid too much physical rush during busy hours.
On a side note, if your restaurant is not already offering online ordering services, you should immediately reconsider this and start.
Although having customers waiting is a sign of prospering business, it can be tricky to manage customers during rush hours. Employ these methods to reduce customer wait time in your restaurant, and tell us what worked for you in the comments.
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