How to Create efficient staff

When I visit a fast casual or other restaurant one of the first things I look at is how the restaurant is laid out. Then there's the servers and other staff, do they have a 'handle' on what's really going on in the restaurant?

All too often we see things that are not really going the way they should. Whether it's the servers, the general staff or even on occasion managers that are not really doing things the right way; there usually are reasons for that. But no one sees them! or at least no one in the company notices the way staff are inefficient... that is, until the end of month accounts come out and ouch! Then the questions of 'how did that happen' will appear.

It's strange, the number one thing on many restaurants minds is staff efficiency. But that's not always the way things turn out, with inefficiency being much commoner than some might imagine. And there are multiple reasons why that is the case. For example:

Control: The lack of control of staff to ensure efficiency is guaranteed

Right Tools: The right technology to help make staff fully efficient

Communication: The inability to communicate in any meaningful manner

While some readers might suggest the above is 'all common sense', in reality there are many restaurants that fall short of one or all of these reasons for inefficiency of staff, but don't really know it. We all might agree that to manage a restaurant without the necessary control of staff would be difficult? in fact it could be impossible. But that control of staff depends on knowledge about staff and what they are doing at any given time. But how do you know what they are doing?

Having the 'right tools' to determine how staff are operating is critical, but what tools? and where does a restaurant find these tools? it's not as if they are all completely common knowledge and that these tools are used by everyone right?

Lastly, communication is really the key to being efficient throughout your business. Only then can a manager have control over staff through the use of the correct tools that can show the position as it unfolds throughout the day. Without communication, there is chaos.

We have all been to restaurants where frankly the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing! And it's pretty obvious to most of us while we sit there and watch. It is to most regular customers too.

What do we need to improve efficiency of staff?

As I have intimated, communication is the key to success where efficient staff are concerned. No matter what solution you use the communication aspect is the most important one. We all know about those paging solutions from the kitchen to waiters. Imagine that our fictitious restaurant did not have one, what then? Firstly, when the food is ready, it would just sit there waiting... and waiting... until someone could be 'bothered' to take it to a customer. The chef might get a little frustrated. The waiters have no clue when to collect food, so they wait by the kitchen window. In the meantime, the customer service is plummeting down - along with the staff efficiency.

So, a waiter paging system from kitchen to waiters is a great idea. Do you have one or do you 'assume' it does not matter?

When customers visit your restaurant are they managed throughout their visit or are they simply 'dumped' at the front of house until some arbitrary time that you think a table 'might' be ready? Staff need tools to manage customers and those tables - and what about communicating between each member of staff? That's something rather critical on the puzzle of improving efficiency of staff, right? A customer paging system, linked to a table management solution with staff text paging would be useful to solve all of those communication problems, right?

A table management solution like On-cue from LRS linked to their customer and staff paging system will change the way that your staff work forever; those solutions will undoubtedly take staff efficiency through the roof - along with the second important factor customer experience, which I know from experience will improve dramatically. How do I know? it's simple, because I have seen it happen over and over again in restaurants throughout the United Kingdom when they use the correct solutions to solve their communications and management problems.

And using the data collected from On-cue will allow other insights to your business that otherwise probably would never have been identified in any other way. Information is critical to understanding what is happening in any restaurant, but today it all becomes not a 'maybe' but an essential ingredient in making your restaurant the best it can be.

Conclusion

Ensuring that staff can communicate effectively will ensure that your restaurant operates at the highest level that it can. Everything will contribute to efficiency of staff, customer experience, table turns, ambience... the list goes on and there really is no other way that any management could improve without these 'tools for the job'.

Lastly, I want to share with you a recent visit I had to a well-known fast casual carvery here in the UK. We arrived at the restaurant and were 'booked in'. The staff took our name and pointed that we should wait in what looked like a 'holding area' for waiting customers. After about ten minutes a member of staff appeared before the waiting customers, lifted a megaphone to his mouth and shouted 'The Smiths'! Yes, this employee really was using a megaphone to call customers so he could take them to their table! You might imagine what that was like for the customers already seated and indeed for the other customers still waiting! Let's hope that the restaurant in question was not yours but if it was then you certainly need something to improve the customer experience in your restaurant.

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